The Core of It All: The Best Standing Ab Workout
Welcome back to The Core of It All, our one-stop shop for all things abs. This summer, we want you to focus on centering yourself—not only in the name of looking good and getting toned, but for better overall wellness and relaxation. In our last post, we talked about sit ups and offered alternatives to the popular move. Now, we’ll dive into the misconception of floor work versus standing ab exercises. Read on to see some of our favorite moves.
Abs, abs, abs…
Most ab exercises for women involve getting down onto a mat on the floor and crunching until you’ve lost count. This not only takes a lot of effort, but it can lead to neck and back straining if not done properly. Plus, floor work isn't necessarily the most effective way for targeting the stomach muscles. First, lying down to work the core limits your range of motion. Think of your positioning when doing a crunch or a sit up—here, the only possible movement is up and down, starting at the floor and ending at your knees. This allows you to target one area of the stomach at a time rather them all at once, and limits the ability to get those long, lean muscles P.volve loves to see.
Standing, on the other hand, gives you more freedom to use the space around you. Think of how much more range you have for each repetition when on your feet. Standing allows you to hinge further at the hips, improve your posture through each move, and have better control with each repetition. Even better, a standing ab workout can very easily become a full-body workout with just a few small tweaks. The moves ahead require no equipment whatsoever—just your strength and soon-to-be even stronger core!
Front Leg Lift
Stand with arms behind head, fingers interlaced. Slightly tilt the upper body back as you tap right foot in front of you, keeping a soft bend in the standing left leg. All at once, lift your right knee up to hip height, forming a 90-degree bend at the knee, and bring your torso back upright (without crunching or rounding). Return to start by tapping your right toes back to the floor while softly leaning back, lifting the chest toward the ceiling and lengthening the abs. Repeat 8 reps, then switch legs.
Front Leg Press
Stand with right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, and a soft bend in the standing leg with fingers interlaced behind your head. Flex your lifted foot, and slowly extend the knee, pressing your right foot out at an angle in front of you. Keeping the foot hovered, slowly rebend the knee, returning to a 90-degree angle at hip height. Repeat 8 reps, then switch legs.
Standing Gate Swing
Stand with right knee bent at 90-degrees in front of you, and a soft bend in the standing leg, fingers interlaced behind your head. Slowly start squeeze from the glute to bring your lifted knee out to the right, keeping a 90-degree bend, and engaging the core to keep balance as you draw the knee back to center. Repeat 8 reps, then switch legs.
For more advice on toned abs, read tips for greater portion control and moves to flatten your stomach.
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