Something we can probably all agree on: It's freakin' tough to stay fit when life's this busy, and it only seems to get harder every year—especially when it comes to our abs. But with a little effort—just 10 minutes a day of smart strength training—you can see a mega difference in your core. "It's amazing how quickly your body will respond," says trainer Larysa DiDio. It doesn't take much to improve your core; you just gotta do it. In front of the TV; on your office floor (just shut your door for privacy); in your hotel room; wherever. Just find a way to get it done. Will you have the abs you had in your 20s? Of course not; that's silly. But will you look and feel your best? Absolutely! And that's worth a little effort—as long as it doesn't mess with the bajillion things you have to do today—don't you think?
How to do it: Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, resting for 30 seconds between moves. Repeat the circuit twice.
Upper Ab Crunch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a mini exercise ball (or a rolled up towel) underneath your shoulder blades and bring your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the sides. Crunch abs and lift chin and chest a few inches higher. Return to start, then immediately repeat.
Expert tip: Don't pull on your neck; pretend there is an orange between your chin and chest.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and lifted over your hips. Place a mini exercise ball (or a rolled up towel) between your knees. Bring your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Crunch abs and bring right elbow to the middle of the ball. Release and repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides.
Expert tip: Use your abs to lift your torso; don't pull on your neck.
Lie on your back with your legs extended over your hips, and arms extended on the floor behind your head, holding a mini exercise ball (or a rolled up towel). Use your abs to lift your upper body and arms overhead, reading the ball toward your toes. Lower and repeat.
Expert tip:Move slowly and with control; you want to really engage your abs.
Lie on your back with your legs extended over your hips. Place a mini exercise ball between your knees and place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Lift your shoulders up and keep them there. Lower your legs to about 45 degrees (right before your back starts to arch) then back up. Repeat.
Expert tip: Really focus on pulling your belly in and pressing your lower back into the floor.
First published: 7 Dec 2017