Admit it, most of the time you preserve your core workouts for the end of a exercise because it’s a valid reason to recline on the floor after a challenging HIIT session or 30 minutes of battle ropes. Hey, no embarrassment there.
But while sit-ups, crunches, and planks have their place in a well-balanced workout routine, you’re doing yourself a disservice by skipping out on standing core workouts, says Gina Caifano, FNP-C, NASM-CPT, the CEO of The Garage Chicago Gym.
“What makes a standing core workout special is that it subconsciously gets you off the couch or floor and gets your body moving,” putting your brain into an active, can-do mindset, she explains. “You’re also forced into turning on your motor neurons for mental focus as you progress into movement patterns that challenge your anti-rotation with off-set loading and resistance.”
After taking on this standing abs workout, you can expect to enjoy benefits such as maximum body control, improved functional ranges of motion, and increased strength in the hip flexors, pelvic floor, transverse abdominals, and rectus abdominis, she adds.
20-Minute Standing Abs Workout
This 20-minute standing abs workout, demonstrated by Caifano, is broken up into three parts. In Part A, you’ll engage your core, preparing your muscles for the work to come. In Part B, you’ll challenge your ability to both rotate and resist rotation, which helps build power in your core and your hips, says Caifano. Finally, in Part C, you’ll focus on core stability by working on your balance. These standing abs exercises will challenge your core as you fight to remain upright and stable.
Start by taking on this standing abs workout twice a week as a finisher or as a warm-up for any current workout plan, recommends Caifano.
How it works: Do 1 set of the moves labeled A for the suggested amount of time. Then, do 2 sets of the moves labeled B and 2 sets of the moves labeled C for the suggested reps or amount of time. Rest up to 1 minute in between sets. Don’t forget to end with some post-workout stretches.
What you’ll need: 2 light weights shaped like kettles and 1 light or medium resistance band
A. Alternating Knee-to-Chest Hold
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and right side of body next to the wall. Gripping the wall with right hand for balance, embrace left knee into chest with left hand.
B. Embrace the knee for a breath, then release with left hand, activating core to keep left knee towards chest for another breath.
C. Lower left foot to ground. Then, embrace right knee into chest with left hand while right hand remains on the wall.
D. Embrace the knee for a breath, then release with left hand, activating core to keep right knee towards chest for another breath.
E. Lower right foot to ground.
To progress, avoid using the wall for balance.
Continue alternating for 60 seconds.
A. Wall-Assisted Single-Leg Knee Tucks
A. Face a wall with hands placed slightly above shoulder height, shoulder-width apart. Take two steps backward so torso is slightly leaning towards the wall.
B. Push hands into the wall to create tension in the core, as if in a vertical plank. Quickly push right leg towards chest and back to the ground without allowing right foot to touch the floor.
Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
A. Kettlebell Side Bend
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell in right hand. Left hand resting on left hip.
B. Activate core and lower kettlebell towards right knee until you feel a pull in left obliques. Shoulders and hips face forward throughout the movement without rotating.
C. Exhale and pull kettlebell up to return to standing.
Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
A. Kettlebell Goblet Single-Leg Knee Drives
A. Stand with feet positioned hip-width apart and grasp a kettlebell in the goblet stance (next to the handles near the bell) right in front of your chest.
B. Elevate your right knee up towards your chest while maintaining stability on your left leg and contracting your gluteal muscles.
C. Descend your right knee towards the ground and promptly raise your right knee back towards your chest.
To modify, gently tap your right toes on the ground before propelling back up.
Repeat this process for a duration of 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
B. Kettlebell Single-Arm Suitcase Hold with Knee-Drive Holds
A. Position yourself with your feet spaced out hip-width apart, grasping a kettlebell in your left hand. Extend your right arm outwards at a distance of a few inches from your hip.
B. While maintaining engagement in your core, elevate your right knee up and inwards towards your chest while balancing on your left leg.
Maintain this position for 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat.
B. Resistance Band Pallof Press with Circles
A. Attach a resistance band to a secure anchor point within your exercise area (such as a closed door or squat rack) and stand in a perpendicular manner with the anchor point on your right side. Stand closer to the anchor point for decreased resistance and further away for increased resistance.
B. Hold the resistance band with both hands in front of your chest, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart, your knees are slightly bent, and that your core is engaged.
C. Straighten your arms to press your hands away from your body. This will serve as the starting position.
D. Gradually move your hands in small, controlled circular motions in a counterclockwise direction.
Repeat this movement for a duration of 30 seconds. Then change direction to face the opposite side and repeat.
B. Kettlebell Standing Rotation
A. Assume a stance with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell on its side, with your left hand gripping the handles and your right hand supporting the bell right in front of your chest.
B. Exhale and rotate your torso towards the left, stopping when you experience an elongation in your right oblique muscles.
Feet ought to stay in position in order for solely the upper torso to be rotating.
C. Breathe in and come back to the center.
Complete 10 repetitions. Change sides; repeat.
C. Kettlebell Overhead Marches
A. Stand with feet the same distance apart as your hips, gripping a kettlebell in each hand. Exhale and lift the kettlebells up to the height of your shoulders, then push the kettlebells up overhead, while keeping a slight bend in both elbows.
B. March in one spot slowly, bringing each knee towards your chest while maintaining balance on the other foot.
Do this for 30 seconds repeatedly.
C. Resistance Band Overhead Knee Drives
A. Securely attach a resistance band to a high point on a squat rack, door frame, or another available anchor point. Extend your arms overhead and grasp the resistance band with both hands.
B. With your back facing the anchor point, take 2 large steps away from it to create tension in the resistance band. Keep your feet at the same distance as your hips. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows while keeping your arms overhead.
C. Slightly lean forward and bring your left knee towards your chest while balancing on your right leg, then lower your left leg to the ground. Bring your right knee towards your chest, then lower your right leg to the ground.
Continue alternating for 60 seconds.
C. Resistance Band Lateral Overhead Knee Drives
A. Anchor the resistance band to a high point on a squat rack, door frame, or another available anchor point. Extend your arms overhead and grab the resistance band with both hands.
B. With the right side closer to the anchor point, take 2 large steps towards the left to create tension in the resistance band. Keep your feet at the same distance as your hips. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows while keeping your arms overhead.
C. Slightly lean to the left, away from the anchor point, and bring your left knee towards your chest while balancing on your right leg, then lower your left leg towards the ground.
D. Bring your right knee towards your chest, then lower your right leg to the ground.
Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
C. Kettlebell Windmill
A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a slight kettlebell held in right hand, the bell resting against the top of forearm. Push the kettlebell up overhead so that the upper arm is next to right ear, right arm is locked, and palm faces forward. Rotate left foot 45 degrees to the left. The left arm is hanging at the side.
B. Gaze up at the kettlebell and rotate the torso slightly to open the chest towards the kettlebell. Keeping the right arm straight, engage the core, retract the shoulder blades, and keep the eyes fixed on the kettlebell. Hinge at the hips to lower the torso towards the floor. Slightly bend the left leg and keep the right leg as straight as possible while tracing the left hand down the inside of the left leg towards the floor, with the palm facing outward.
C. Continue the hinge movement as far as possible without engaging the back muscles or bending at the waist. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Perform 8 repetitions on each side.
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