Abs are made in the kitchen, but it’s important to keep your core strong with other exercises, too. Bored with crunches and running out of ways to sculpt your six-pack? These four Pilates and yoga-inspired moves will not only humble you but will exhaust your entire abdominal area without any equipment, in just 10 minutes. Repeat this circuit two to three times in order to target your transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis and obliques.
And don’t think this is just for the ladies. My husband, who does six reps at 255 on the bench, winced and dripped sweat through this workout for just two rounds. Try it no matter your mission, whether on the hunt for a six-pack or just a good challenge! I promise you’ll feel the results.
Heel-to-Hand Crunch (12 reps per side)
Begin lying on your back, right foot stacked on top of left and hands out to the side. Flex through the ankle, lifting your leg while simultaneously reaching your hand outside the ankle. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor, drawing your obliques to your ribs. Squeeze! Exhale to lift, inhale as you recline.
Roll down with Side Chest-Openers (10 reps per side)
Place your heels flat on the floor with your knees bent, while sitting up straight and stack shoulders directly above your hips. Lift your arms to the outside of your knees, palms inward. Lift your hands together above your knees and extend your gaze and right arm to the side, keeping your spine flexed (scoop your belly in and up). Keep your sternum lifted and shoulder blades pressed away from the ears. Exhale as you reach, inhale to return.
Elbow Plank with Tick-Tocks (20 reps per side)
Begin in a plank position with palms down. Draw the navel to your spine and squeeze your muscles inward. Without tilting your pelvis, lift one toe, extend the leg to the side, tapping the toe and returning to the start position. Repeat the other side. Avoid letting your hips lift or sink. Exhale on the tap, inhale during the return.
Rotating Plank with Hand-Taps
Begin in a full plank. Squeeze muscles inward and align your head with your spine. Drop your heels to the right, brace your obliques and lift your left hand to the ceiling directly above your shoulder. Hold it for five breaths. Continue, taking your top arm to your bottom hand for five reps. Exhale as you lower, inhale as you lift. Return your top hand to the ground, lift your heels back to center and rotate straight through to the other side.
Kendra Pugh is a certified personal trainer, a Reformer Pilates and group fitness instructor and the group fitness coordinator at The Athletic Club of Columbus. For more info, check out www.kendraleighstiffler.com.