Want killer abs without a doing single sit-up? A solid core without one crunch? Well get ready! By overwhelming popular demand, I’m sharing my favorite core exercises for serious gains with “only” plant protein.
Here at Bite Size Vegan, my focus is always effective educational content. I push myself beyond the limits of my mind and body. Putting in the long hours of research, writing, filming, editing, fact-checking, re-checking and in-depth citation creation insanity. All to provide you with rigorously reference-backed, quality educational content on a impossible timeline that boggles the mind.
But it’s all worth it when I see the message connecting.
I post about the emptying of our oceans.
You say my arms look awesome.
I expose the evils of dairy.
You ask about my abs.
A lot. Like really a lot.
And some of you think I’m gross. That’s nice.
Okay so fine! I’m finally giving in. Here’s a video all about my abs and core training.
And for the sake of consistency, I expect a flood of intellectually stimulating questions in the comments of this post!
Every now and again I act like a proper YouTuber and bust out a video with a focus on fitness. With the plethora of requests about my abs as of late, I decided to share with you my favorite crunch-free moves for 100% vegan no-kill killer abs. Because no one has to die for your gains. Including you. Just check out my vegan athlete series for more proof!
And, as an additional nugget of awesomeness, I’ve made you a whole bonus video showing my full-body workout routine. I’ve posted publicly on my Patreon page. So check that out at the end for an example of how I pull everything together.
My approach to abdominal training is a bit atypical. I don’t have “ab days” and I don’t do any sit ups, crunches or any moves that compress the lower back. I focus on functional, whole-body movements while consciously engaging my entire core throughout.
The moves I’m sharing today are bodyweight moves, but I’ve included links below to other workout videos of mine that involve Olympic weight lifting and basic weight-training in my creepy basement gym!
A word of caution: please consult with a trainer for proper form, always be sure to warm up, cool down and stretch, and if something feels wrong or hurts in the bad kind of “feel the burn” way, just stop it!
With that said, the first step for any killer workout is looking awesome. Which I’ve clearly got in the bag. [see video for irrefutable proof] For me this is extra essential as I’m working out in full view of my neighbors.
You’re welcome, neighbors.
Step two is a rousing musical track. Buuut since this is YouTube and I don’t fancy a copyright strike, you get to listen to some stock music!
So here are my favorite core bodyweight moves with some variations. You can find a list of them on the blog post for this video, linked below as well as on the bonus bodyweight routine post on Patreon.
Let’s start with some plank-based moves before moving off the floor. Planks are ideal for full-body functional core engagement. It’s probably best to watch the video for reference (and my incredible level of style and finesse….yup) but here is the written version of “mah moves.”
Move Numbah One: Basic Plank With Variations
It may seem simple, but a properly-executed plank is no joke. Always work to keep your body in a straight line from your heels to the crown of your head. No booty popping or core-sagging. Proper form trumps longer holds or higher repetitions every single time.
You can step up your plank by playing around with leg lifts, alternate leg and arm lifts—be sure to stay centered—work from a forearm plank, or take it down a notch with a cross reach move on your knees, still engaging!
Move Numbah Two: Side-To-Side Plank Crossovers
Again keep your body inline. No booty popping or core-sagging. With this move you can play around with your over/under hand placement.
Move Numbah Three: Front to Back Plank Walk With Variations
If you’re on a slick floor, you can really dial this move up by putting a towel under your toes and basically dragging your lower half, keeping it engaged, of course! A variation is using your forearms. Once again, straight line!
Move Numbah Four: Side Plank Pushup Rotation With Optional Leg Lift
As I said, I rarely work just my core. This is a great move for full-body engagement and balance-training. The key is slow and controlled movement with proper alignment and mental muscle focus. No sagging or popping!
To lower the intensity, you can take out the pushup or leg lift and just do the to side to side plank rotation.
Or take it up a notch by keeping your raised foot in the air throughout the full rotation.
Move Numbah Five: Up/Down Plank With Directional Variations
I’m sure there’s a better name for that. This is one of my favorite moves. Anytime I’ve seen it performed, it’s with the more natural progression of down right, down left, up right, up left. I like to instead go directly back up on the last arm I put down as fighting the sway of my body demands more of my core. As always, proper engagement and alignment!
Move Numbah Six: 10/10 Pushups
Pretty simple but pretty killer when you really focus. Hold a proper plank for 10 seconds, then lower to a hovering position, elbows against your body for 10 seconds, then repeat till you crap out. There’s a tendency to bow the back as you raise up, so stay engaged and stop when you find yourself dipping.
Move Numbah Seven: Jumping Jack Burpees
If you wanna toss in some cardio, jumping jack burpees will just about do it! More than any move so far, core engagement here is absolutely key. This may not be an appropriate move until you’ve built up some basic stability. If you find your lower back dipping, or booty popping, do not do these.
Move Numbah Eight: Elevated Optionally One-Legged Pike Pushups
For a side of shoulder with your core training, try these out. You can always take out the elevation and use both feet.
And finally we’re off the floor for:
Move Numbah Nine: Slow Mo Hovering Run Or L-Sit
Let’s start with the most ridiculous-looking one. This may look like nothing and if you don’t engage it is a whole lot of nothing. But with focus on the motion, extension and engaging, it’s a nice move. You can also, of course, bust out a classic L-Sit hold.
Move Numbah Ten: Warrior Three Squats With Half-Moon Variation
This move works everything. Focus on keeping your body inline, pulling your navel in, engaging your back, butt, and legs, pulling your shoulders away from your ears and pushing out through your heel.
You can vary your arm position and/or do a variation of rotating from warrior three to half moon. Always balance with the other side.
Move Numbah Eleven: Pull Up/Leg Lift Combos With Variations
This is a little more advanced and variations are available. You can work with a band, or break the move into component parts with hanging leg raises or even knee raises, hold one pull up and continue leg raises.
You can also play around with moving vs holding, and lowering with extended legs. Always engage!
Move Numbah Twelve: Peel the Potato In Pike Position
So this is typically called skin the cat, which is actually what I call it in the bonus workout video I’ll link to. But just for fun I thought I’d use a more vegan-friendly title for it here. Cause nothing says fun like speciesist semantics!
Now some final tips: core training doesn’t have to be core moves. Keeping your core engaged no matter what you’re doing protects your spine, builds stability, and prevents injury. Just don’t associate engaging with tension or not breathing!
And of course, be sure to take your before and after pics to show the incredible transformation, and take any opportunity to gratuitously flex your vegan mooscles for any protein-concerned observers.
Cause we vegans kill it without killing.
Now go check out the Nugget Army Bodyweight Bootcamp Bonus Workout where I show you a sample routine!
I hope you enjoyed my crunch-free moves for no-kill killer abs! Don’t forget to exercise your mind too with the rest of my content.
Cause smarts are sexy!
Now go live vegan, kill it without killing, and I’ll see you soon.
— Emily Moran Barwick
sally anne hubbard says
Wow, this was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing and mostly for showing meat eaters no one has to eat animal flesh to be fit.
I wish I could do the hand stand.
Thanks fir sharing this. Could you share the name/brand of both sets of bars you use? Ive been looking for both and can’t find them. Thanks for all you do :)
Emily Moran Barwick (BiteSizeVegan) says
At the base of the post now! Sorry for omission!
Maureen Cram says
Thanks so much for showing ‘them’ that you don’t need animal protein to look fantastic. I was wondering if you could tell me where you got your pull up frame. Did you buy it or did someone make it for you? I want my husband to make me one. I am a little bit older than you – 69 in a couple of months – but I really fancy pull ups to add to my normal weight training that I do a couple of times a week. Thanks also for all the work you do for animals. I have shared your vegan police video many times now as well as some of your more serious ones. Keep up the amazing work – you are appreciated more than you can imagine xxx.
Sheree Wolfe says
Thanks for making us all feel like total slackers! Haha. Just kidding. I think you’re awesome, but since you requested some thought provoking questions, I won’t ask any gratituous questions about your “outside” person.
I know you have discussed being the only vegan member and your family in the past. I am fortunate in that I did just watch this video with my husband (who did want to ask work out questions.. I just wouldn’t let him) he is vegan, and my 76 year old father is plant based. I wonder how you deal with comments, especially from people who “love” you that are specifically designed to incite or hurt you? I want to spread the vegan is peace message, but it can be hard at family gatherings etc.
We think you’re great! Keep on doing what you’re doing!
You never cease to amaze me. Even though I sometimes don’t have time to see all of your videos, the ones that I do catch are incredibly inspiring and, well, as Sheree said – you make the rest of us look like slackers. ;-)
I completely understand your devotion to animals and educating people in a sincere and intelligent manner, and I also understand your stress level. I have mentioned to you before that I hope you take time for yourself to just chill, but if that’s really difficult for you where you live, feel free to come down to St. Croix and stay with us for as long as you wish. We are vegans, we have 5 healthy vegan dogs and have been trying to veganize our cats (although this has been a ridiculous challenge since we have 12 of them…some with health issues and many with attitude issues)…cats, you know.
Anyway, if you need a place to just crash for a while, come down to the Caribbean. We have a spare room which has been largely underutilized. Thanks for all you do for all of us Earthlings…
Mike Downey says
This is fantastic. I followed you for a while, but never realized how jacked and ripped you are. This is perfect. I truly hope to get in touch with you in order to find out if you would care to appear in my veg animal rights fantasy calendar alongside Torre Washington, Robert Cheeke, Samantha SHorkey, Patrick Baboumian, Harriet Davis, David Carter, Abel Trujiilo, DJ Diamond, Mr. Universe, the Uks strongest woman, Canada’s kickboxing champion, and many many more. Please get in touch with me. All I need is a high resolution image of you that fits the bill. I have one slot next for our 2017 Warriors of Compassion calendar, and if we can’t fit you in it, then you are in next year’s calendar fosho ;)