Exercise on bed for abs

14 Ab Exercises You Can Do While Watching Netflix in Bed

If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey or are getting back into a workout routine after some time off, jumping into intense HIIT classes, trying to run several miles per day, or taking on heavy lifts is not only daunting, but also inadvisable. The good news is that the risk of injuring yourself can be reduced by starting with your foundation—the core. Your core muscles—including your abs, glutes, and back and hip muscles—help stabilize and support healthy posture and movement so that your body can handle the other exercises you take on.

The even better news is that you can start your fitness journey—or comeback—with some ab exercises right from the comfort of your own bed. In fact, we reached out to two fitness experts who helped us put together an ab routine that requires no equipment and can help you strengthen and tone your core even while catching up on your favorite shows.

So, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or just diving into working out, keep reading for 14 effective ab exercises to develop your core strength from the comfort of your bed.

Meet the Expert

  • Courtney Kessler is a NASM-certified personal trainer with pre- and postnatal certifications. She’s also the creator and founder of Mindset & Miles.
  • David Rosales is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and the co-owner of Roman Fitness Systems.

Safety and Precautions

Kessler says that even though the ab exercises in this routine can be done on your bed, and therefore may seem very easy, it’s still important to consider safety. “Before you start any kind of exercise regimen, think safety first. Talk to your doctor before you begin any new routine,” she advises.

There are also a few core-specific precautions to keep in mind with this routine. “Ensure that you are moving slowly through these movements and engaging the proper muscles. Remember to breathe, maintaining proper spine alignment, focusing on neck safety, and controlling your speed,” explains Kessler. “Never pull your head/neck with your hands when doing traditional sit-up movements. ” She also advises that if your neck or lower back hurt at any point during the workout, you should stop the movement.

Rosales says it’s critical to respect your limits, so don’t try progressing an exercise until you are strong enough and have fully mastered the basic version. “One of the biggest mistakes you can make is attempting a variation that you’re not ready for. For example, if you can’t keep your back flat with lying [leg marches] with your knees bent, then an exercise like leg raises might tweak your lower back,” he notes. “Always [err] on the side of a variation that’s too easy—then you can always move to a more difficult option.”

Lastly, although the exercises here are intended to be doable on your bed, not every bed may be the best choice. For one thing, make sure it is wide enough that you have enough room on either side of you so that you won’t fall off during movements. And, according to Kessler, your mattress plays a role too: “A soft or very soft bed is not good for your back or these exercises—they work best with a hard or firm mattress.


Kessler says a common misconception is that you can’t get in a decent workout without hitting the gym or at least going somewhere other than your bed. “If you love your bed just as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to get out of bed just to get a workout in. In fact, bed exercises can help train your prime mover muscles, while recruiting small stabilizing muscles at the same time,” she says. “Unstable surfaces can also be beneficial for building core strength, improving balance, and strengthening your core canister.” She says the exercises in this routine can even be done in your pajamas—it doesn’t get much more approachable than that.

Rosales says another misconception is that ab exercises are easy and mindless. While you can certainly work your way through your Netflix queue during these exercises once you master them, they do require you to dedicate your attention to proper form when learning the moves. “In order to engage our abdominals, we want to set up our pelvis into a neutral position. Typically, our pelvis sits tilted forward and our spine excessively arched,” explains Rosales. “Before any abdominal exercises, we want to tilt the pelvis backward and flatten the lower back. The muscles that will do this are the abdominals and the hip extensors (glutes).”

Rosales has some tips to ensure you’re properly getting your pelvis into this neutral position. “Your back should be flat while you perform all of your ab exercises. You can easily use the surface you’re lying down on for feedback. If you can reach your hand in between your lower back and the bed, your back isn’t actually flat.” When you’re just beginning to train your abs, make sure to do the exercises with your knees bent because this will make flattening your back easier. “This neutral posture is crucial because otherwise, while performing ‘ab exercises,’ your abs won’t be in a position where they can effectively contract, and other muscles, like the lower-back muscles, will perform the bulk of the movement.

Lastly, Kessler notes that core exercises have benefits that extend beyond giving your abs a toned and tightened appearance. “Core training’s objective is to cohesively strengthen the deep and superficial muscles that stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body, including the muscles of the back,” she explains. “A strong core helps maintain proper muscle balance throughout your body.”

01 of 14


Mastering basic crunches with proper form is a good place to start. To incorporate your upper body, squeeze a Pilates ring as your crunch up.

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet on the bed. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead.
  • If you have a Pilates ring, place in straight in front of your body.
  • If you don't have a ring, cross your arms on your chest, or place your hands behind your ears or head.
  • Slowly crunch your upper body up, raising your shoulder blades off the bed, and pause at the top of the move. If you are using one, squeeze the Pilates ring at the top.
  • Slowly lower your upper body back to the starting position.
  • Complete three sets of 10 reps or one set of 25 reps.

02 of 14


This move not only works your abdominal muscles, including the side oblique muscles, but also targets your hips.

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed, shoulder-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Place your hands behind your ears or head, and point your elbows out to the side.
  • Slowly bring your elbow to your opposite knee, pulling the knee in and rotating toward that knee while simultaneously extending the opposite leg out.
  • Switch sides in a continuous motion, transitioning smoothly.
  • Repeat for a total of 12 slow reps on each side.

03 of 14


Strengthen and tone your upper and lower abdominals with this effective move.

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward.  
  • Place your arms straight out, with palms facing down.
  • “Slowly crunch your upper body up just slightly, raising shoulder blades off the bed, using your hands to push through the space [between] your knees,” instructs Kessler.
  • Complete 25 reps.

04 of 14


This isometric hold targets your abs, hip flexors, and back. Using a Pilates ring will help strengthen your upper body.

  • Lie on your back, with your legs straight and arms straight overhead on the bed.
  • If you have a Pilates ring, hold it straight out in front. If you don't have one, extend both arms straight in front of you.
  • Engage your core to lift your arms and legs up simultaneously, bending at the waist until your body makes a “V” shape.
  • Hold the position for 15–30 seconds, squeezing the Pilates ring as you hold, and then slowly lower back down.
  • Repeat the exercise three times.

05 of 14

Toe Touches

You’ll really isolate your abs with this move.

  • Lie on your back, with your arms at your sides and legs vertical/straight up in the air.
  • Place your hands together and reach toward your toes, then pause at the top.
  • Slowly lower back down.
  • Complete 20 reps.

06 of 14

Crunch Rotation

This final variation on basic crunches targets your side oblique muscles.

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent up and arms behind your head.
  • As you crunch up, lift your left leg up slightly as you twist, touching your right elbow to your left knee.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Complete 10 reps on each side.

07 of 14

Leg Marches

This exercise is the basic move in the series of reverse crunches and leg lifts that follow. Rosales says to make sure you can easily handle this one before taking on the advanced variations.

  • Lie on your back, knees bent to 90 degrees and shins up in the air parallel to the bed.
  • Exhale slowly, flattening your back against the bed and lowering one heel to tap the mattress.
  • Once this heel hits the bed, slowly bring it back up while tapping the other heel to the bed.
  • Alternate in this fashion for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

Progress this exercise by moving both legs together (reverse crunches), then straighten each leg and move them individually (alternating straight leg lifts), and then move both straightened legs together (straight leg lifts).

08 of 14

Reverse Crunches

This exercise progresses leg marches, requiring greater abdominal strength and control by moving both legs together.

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the bed, toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Place your arms behind your neck or by your sides with your palms facing down on the bed.
  • “Slowly pull both knees into your chest, tucking them up so your feet are above your head and pulsing at the top,” says Kessler.
  • Crunch up as your knees come in.
  • Gently lower your legs back down to the starting position and then lift them back up.
  • Complete 20 reps.

09 of 14

Alternating Straight Leg Lifts

Now you’ll go back to moving one leg at a time, but by straightening them, your legs act as longer levers, increasing the difficulty of the exercise.

  • Lie on your back, with your legs straight up in the air, perpendicular to the bed, and your arms at your side.
  • Exhale slowly, flattening your back against the bed and lowering one of your straightened legs toward the mattress.
  • Reach up towards the shin of your leg that is straight.
  • Once your heel nearly touches the bed (try not to let it actually touch), inhale, and slowly bring it back up.
  • Go as slowly as possible, alternating legs, and aim for five repetitions per leg.

10 of 14

Straight Leg Lifts

Now you’ll challenge your core even more by lifting both extended legs together.

  • Lie on your back, with your palms under your hips for support, and legs straight out.
  • Lift your straightened legs up together, so they’re hovering over the floor.
  • The lower your legs are to the floor, the more difficult it is. If you have back pain, lift them up slightly higher.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat three times.

11 of 14


This last progression in the series adds some lateral movement to also work your hips, glutes, and inner thighs.

  • Lie on your back, with your legs fully straightened and palms under your hips for back support.
  • Engage your abdominals to lift your extended legs about 6 inches off the bed so that they are hovering over the surface of the bed.
  • Move your legs up and down in alternating, scissor-like movements. “Do not worry about speed. In fact, go slow, and stay with your breath,” advises Rosales.
  • Aim to continue the movement for 30 seconds, or for the length of four to five breaths with slow exhales.

12 of 14


“For many people starting out, doing a plank while being able to maintain a neutral posture is difficult. So, make it easier by using gravity to your advantage,” says Rosales. “Place your forearms on an elevated surface, like your mattress, and keep your feet on the ground.” Once you’ve mastered that modification, you can take on the standard plank.

  • Lie on your stomach and prop your upper body up, resting your elbows under your shoulders with your palms pressed together.
  • With your legs straight behind you, rise up on your toes, engaging your core muscles and glutes and keeping your back flat.
  • Hold the position for 15–30 seconds, and then relax.
  • Repeat three times.

13 of 14

Side Planks

This plank variation works your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your torso.

  • Lie on your side, with your feet stacked and your body in a straight line and your arm straight.
  • Exhale, engaging your core and glutes while you lift your body up, keeping your body in a straight line.
  • If it is too difficult with your arm straight, perform the side plank on your forearm instead of straightened arm.
  • Rosales says to hold the position for four breaths, trying to extend the length of the exhales to seven to 15 seconds each.
  • Switch sides.

14 of 14

One-Leg Ab Plank

This advanced plank variation requires additional balance and core strength.

  • Holding a standard high plank, left one leg up.
  • Hold for five to 10 seconds, making sure you keep your body in a straight line.
  • Switch legs.
  • Aim for three to five reps on each side.

12 Exercises You Can Do In Bed While Watching Netflix

Article Sources

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

  1. Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE. Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health. 2013;5(6):514-522. doi:10.1177/1941738113481200

The Super-Effective Abs Workout You Can Do in Bed

Here, how to make up for snoozing through your gym session.

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Some days, it’s just impossible to get out of bed. Even though you had every intention of going to the gym before work, let’s face it: the comfort of your nest of blankets and pillows is MUCH more alluring. So you snooze the alarm. And then again. And after five or six snoozes, you submit to the reality that there’s no way you’re making it to the gym. And with this realization, you’re suddenly wide awake and stricken with guilt. Thoughts akin to “I suck” float around in your head while you try to peel your sorry caboose out of bed.

But what if you could still get a workout in before work without even leaving your bed? You might be thinking,”Ah shucks, that’s too good to be true.” Well, folks, I — along with a real expert, Dana Auriemma, owner of Freehouse Fitness Studio and local ab guru — am here to tell you that it’s not too good to be true. Below, Dana demonstrates six abs exercises you can do in bed that are both effective and, in some cases, more challenging to do in your plushy bed than on your not-so plushy yoga mat. In other words, we have proof that you can, in fact, have it all.

1. Roll Downs
“Straighten your legs and squeeze them together, rounding your spine. Rock back on your pelvis and roll down slowly, trying to articulate through your spine to lower one inch at a time to the bed. Roll up by reaching your arms towards your toes while you curl your head and shoulders forward. Then use your abs to flex your rib cage forward, rounding your back as you roll up towards your feet. ” Reps: 10

How the bed helps: “If you have a tight back or hips, having your hips sink slightly lower than the rest of your body allows you to do this exercise with more control and better form.”

2. Teaser Twist
“Start with tabletop legs, resting on your pelvis. Rock back slightly to find a balance point and pull your abs in strongly to keep your spine flexed. Using your internal obliques, twist your ribcage to one side of your legs and pulse the rotation three times. Then repeat in the other direction.” Reps: 5 to 8 each side

How the bed helps: “Your pelvis is more supported by the soft surface and, therefore, your hip flexors don’t have to work so hard to keep your legs up, allowing you to put all of the focus on your abs.”

3. Tabletop Twist
“Lay on your back with your legs in tabletop. Squeezing your inner thighs together and, keeping your knees stacked over your hips, rotate your pelvis to one side of your body using your internal obliques and keeping your shoulders and ribs stable. Return to center using your abs and twist to the other side. Focus on keeping your ribs and abs pulled in and down, toward the bed.” Reps: 5 to 8 each side

How the bed helps: “The bed is more comfortable for your hips and allows greater range of motion with control for a better challenge.”


Left, Tabletop Twist; Right, Pelvic Tilt

4. Pelvic Tilt
“Lay on your back with your feet directly over your hips, bending your knees if your hamstrings are tight. (Note: it’s more important that your feet are over your hips to not strain your hip flexors, rather than having your legs straight). Flex your abs and rock your pelvis slightly towards your ribs, then return to neutral. Don’t try to lift your pelvis/tailbone or swing your legs aggressively. You won’t feel your pelvis lift off of the surface of the bed; it’s more of a small ‘crunch’ movement between your ribs and pelvis.” Reps: 20

How the bed helps: “The soft surface lets you round your back into the bed, and this bend of the spine is more effective work for your abs.

5. Boat
“Start resting on your pelvis with tabletop legs. Round your low back down to the bed as you tilt your pelvis down to a horizontal position and stretch out your legs. Keep your upper back flexed forward while sinking your low back down, using your abs. Keeping your low back rounded and spine flexed is extremely important to avoid straining your hip flexors and back. Pull your abs in deeper as you come back up, bending your knees and keeping your spine slightly rounded.” Reps: 5-8

How the bed helps: “This exercise is very advanced and easily done wrong, with safety issues, but having your hips sink into the bed makes it a lot easier to rock back on the pelvis correctly and keep the spine rounded, so you can do this challenging exercise and feel the burn!”

6. Plank (We figured you didn’t need a picture of this one …)
“A standard plank is also great on the bed, as your forearms can be more comfortable on the soft surface, while your abs work harder to stabilize against the unstable mattress. For a challenge, lift each leg up one inch off the bed and hold for five seconds. Keep your head up in line with your spine, focus on pulling in your abdominals, starting low at your pelvic floor alllll the way up to your ribcage. Activate your glute/hamstring connection (where your glute and hamstring muscles meet at the back of each hip joint) to help keep your pelvis neutral. If your butt sticks up, it can cause your lower back to arch and compress, and significantly limits your ab work.” Reps: 5-8 lifts on each side.

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description and advice on how to do it

How many benefits you can get from the exercises that you do without getting out of a warm bed! We do not have to mentally prepare ourselves for a hard and protracted workout, and it becomes easier for the body to wake up. At the same time, the benefits of such physical activity are no worse. We suggest what exercises you can do while lying on the bed.

Website editor


the beauty nine0003


Female figure

Ideal figure


Sport helps us keep our body in good shape and strengthen our immune system. But not all of us can force ourselves to exercise regularly or do at least a light workout in the morning. Meanwhile, stretching your muscles and joints after waking up, filling up with energy and strength for the day ahead is an ideal part of a healthy lifestyle program. We offer six excellent poses from morning exercises that will not only wake up the body, but also gradually bring the figure in order. Note that these exercises on the bed are suitable even for lazy people! nine0003

Trainer and fitness expert Anastasia Rakamakafit notes that many people do exercises on the bed today. Each of us has situations when there is no desire to go to training. Bad weather outside, problems with transport, an expired subscription or just a lack of mood. On such days, instead of working in the gym, you want to lie in a cozy bed and watch TV shows. It would be great to relax and build the figure of your dreams at the same time! It turns out that this is possible.

Below are exercises that are easy to do without getting out of bed. Get comfortable, turn on your favorite movie and combine business with pleasure. And to make the “bed workout” as effective as possible, use fitness rubber bands that will help work out the whole body.

By the way, before you start exercising on the bed, stretch. So you will prepare the body for work, stretch your muscles after sleep and restore blood circulation throughout the body. From this simple action, the pleasure centers in the brain are stimulated, and mood improves. And it also has a beneficial effect on vision, taste and tactile sensations. nine0003

Side leg raise

A simple but effective weight loss exercise that can be done while lying on the bed. This is a sure way to get rid of the “riding breeches” problem area, since the exercise strengthens the muscles of the legs and buttocks. Lie on your side and stretch your legs. Place one hand on your elbow for support, put the other on your upper thigh. The whole body must be in the same plane. The elastic should be in the middle of the calf. On exhalation, with effort, lift the upper leg as high as possible, while straining the buttock, and on inhalation, return to the starting position. Try to swing without jerking, feeling the load on the muscles. nine0003

Reps: 20 (each leg).
Sets: 3.


A well-known variant of the exercise for slender legs and a toned flat stomach, which is convenient to do while lying on your back on the bed. Lie on your back, lift your upper body and lean on your elbows. Move the elastic so that it is in the middle of the foot. Pull both knees towards your chest. From this position, alternately straighten your legs. Hold the straight leg suspended above the bed for a couple of seconds, then change. nine0003

With this exercise on the bed, you not only work out the press while lying down. The use of elastic resistance in addition will give a load on the front and back surfaces of the legs. And to “burn through” the press more, close your hands behind your head and lift your shoulders so that they are on weight. Hold the feeling of tense abs during leg work.

Reps: 20 (each leg).
Approach: 2-3.

Leg extension from lying position

The bed is especially comfortable for ab exercises. This training affects not only the abdominal muscles, but also the inner surface of the thighs. From a prone position, lift straight legs up so that they are perpendicular to the body. On exhalation, separate them strictly to the sides, and on inhalation, assemble them back, but so that the elastic does not sag. Try to keep your knees straight, do not arch your lower back and spread your legs as wide as possible. To load the muscles more, use the tightest elastic band and pull the feet towards you. nine0003

Reps: 25-30.
Sets: 2-3.

Hip Raise Glute Bridge

A life-saving exercise for girls who want to enlarge their butt but are afraid to pump their legs. The bridge acts pointwise on the muscles of the buttocks, improving their shape and size. Lie on your back, place your arms along the body, legs bent, feet on the bed next to the pelvis. From this position, while exhaling, raise the pelvis as high as possible, resting your heels on the bed and squeezing your buttocks. At the top point, spread your knees to the sides, with effort overcoming the resistance of the elastic band. Then bring them back and lower the pelvis. In general, your hands are free, and you can do similar exercises on the bed without leaving your phone. nine0003

Reps: 20.
Sets: 3.

Sitting Chest Rows

We have back exercises in bed in our arsenal. This position allows you to work out the latissimus dorsi muscles and improve your posture. Sit on the bed with a straight back, stretch your legs out in front of you. Make sure they are straight. Hook the rubber band around your foot and pull it towards your stomach, pulling your elbows back. At the extreme point, try to connect the shoulder blades. To maintain a straight body position and not fall over, bend the other leg and hold on to it with your hand. nine0003

Reps: 30.
Sets: 2.

Triceps Exercise

Perform this exercise in the morning in bed and you will form a relief, toned arms. At the same time, you will get rid of loose skin. Bend your legs, sit with your buttocks on your heels and straighten your back. Hold the fitness band in front of your chest with one hand, and bend it at a right angle with the other hand, holding the other end of the band. As you exhale, stretch it with effort, straightening your arm in the elbow joint to the end. nine0003

Reps: 10-15 (each hand).
Sets: 3.

Photo: Shutterstock

11 exercises you can do while in bed

Some days you don't want to get out of bed at all. Do not need. If you are telecommuting, you can take work and study under the covers, you can also have breakfast in bed (apartment cockroaches will be especially happy about this).

1. Butt Lift

Reps: for one minute

From a prone position, raise your knees, feet flat on the bed, hands at your sides. Start raising your torso and buttocks so that they form a straight line with your knees. Hold the body in this position for 5-10 seconds, slowly lower it.

2. "Birch"

Reps: 15 times

Hands behind the head, legs straight. Raise your legs and torso so that a vertical line is formed. Help yourself with your hands, supporting your lower back. Then slowly lower your pelvis and legs. nine0003

3. "Boat"

Reps: 20 times

Lie on your stomach, straighten your arms and legs in front of you. Raise your arms and legs at the same time, as high as you can. Hold the pose for 5-10 seconds.

4. Leg Raises

Reps: 20 reps

Keep your legs straight and your arms behind your head, under your waist, or to your side. Raise your legs up until they are perpendicular to the bed. Raise your pelvis. Then slowly lower your buttocks and legs onto the bed. You can cross your ankles together, it will be a little easier. nine0003

5. Leg raise, lying on the side

Reps: 20 times

Lie down on the right side, supporting the head with the right hand. Slowly lift your left leg about 60 degrees up, then lower it without touching your right leg. Then repeat the same on the other side.

6. Side leg extension

Reps: 30 times

Get on all fours. Raise your right leg, keeping it bent at the knee. Slowly lower your leg back. Repeat the same but with the other leg. nine0003

7. Scissors

Reps: 20 times

You probably remember this exercise from your childhood: lying on your back, raise your legs about 45 degrees up. Alternately move your legs left and right, as if they were scissor blades. The lower the legs are to the ground, the stronger the press is trained.

8. Plank

Reps: 30 seconds

All you need to do is a straight line with your torso from heels to toes, standing on your elbows or on straight arms. If difficult, you can bend your knees. nine0003

9. Butterfly

Reps: 25 times

Lie on your back, spread your hips and bring your feet together so that your legs form a kind of “butterfly” (although in general it looks more like a diamond). Support your head with your hands and lift your torso to your feet, as if you are pumping the press.

10. Push-ups

Reps: 25 times

Few people love them, but this is the most effective exercise for working out the arms and back. Start in plank position, then slowly lower your body as low as you can with your hands, without touching the bed.

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