You can do all of these moves while standing.
So often, people try to strengthen their core, but instead they end up overworking their hips and straining their necks without seeing any difference in their abs. With this workout, you are going to use and work your whole core effectively so your obliques and core are sore—not your neck. Even though all of these exercises can be done on a mat, try to change your plane of movement and do them standing this time.
To make these exercises even more effective, please remember these three tips:
- Breathe. I'm not talking about normal breathing, but rather deep inhaling through your nose and then exhaling with a “ha” type breath out of your mouth. Use this breathing technique while keeping your core pulled in and tight, and try not to push your core out.
- Rotate. Try to twist your spine above your pelvis without moving your pelvis. Keep your hips squared under your shoulders and use your obliques and core to assist in the movement for best results.
- Slow down. Don’t rush through these exercises. Slow and with control will help to sculpt your core.
Now, aim for 8-10 repetitions of each exercise on both sides, and really try to rotate further, breathing more deeply and holding your core in tighter with each rep.
Standing Single Leg Stretch
- Stand up tall on both feet and shift your weight over to one side. Find your balance here, then hug the other leg up and into your chest with both hands over that knee. Keep your hips and knee in line with your shoulder.
- Return to standing and switch legs to repeat on the other leg. Alternate from side to side, keeping your core pulled in and shoulders down.
Standing Criss Cross
- Stand tall on both feet and lace your hands behind your head. Using your core and your obliques, lift your left knee up to your right armpit as you rotate your upper torso towards that knee. Don’t pull on your neck or collapse your torso down. Focus on pulling the leg up higher towards your armpit instead of pulling your body downward.
- Return to standing and switch legs. Alternate from side to side.
- Stand with your feet in parallel and wider than your hips, pressing through all 10 toes. Reach your arms out to the sides and stretch them as long as you can.
- Inhale as you rotate your spine above your pelvis and reach your left pinky finger for your right pinky toe. Hold here and try to reach from the core without shifting or resting into your hips.
- Come back up through the center and reach to the other side.
Standing Spine Twist
- Start in the same standing position as the above exercise. Inhale as you flex your spine forward, all while keeping your core pulled up and arms long.
- Twist over to one side without shifting your hips, and keep those arms long. If this is enough, hold here. For a bigger challenge, pulse three times to this side without moving from the hips down.
- Twist to the other side and repeat. Make sure to use control from your core, not momentum.
Sourced: The Big Book of Walking for Weight Loss
First published: 14 Jun 2018