When it comes to working the core, many of us habitually roll out a yoga mat and hop down to the floor. But did you know that it’s possible to work your abs while standing?
Common floor exercises like crunches and bicycles are effective, but easy to perform incorrectly, which places stress on the neck and back. If you often feel pain in these areas, it may be time to mix things up and try some ab exercises done while standing — no need to crawl down on the ground!
This standing ab routine will work your entire core while reducing the opportunity to pull on your neck or arch your low back.
Standing pelvic tilt
The standing pelvic tilt can be performed while standing against a wall, which is a great way to master the correct form, or without the wall. Lean against the wall and bend your knees slightly. As you breathe out, tilt your pelvis up and forward, away from the wall. Your low back should press gently into the wall. Engage your abdominals to maintain proper form. Release and repeat 10 times.
Performing crunches while standing will help you avoid the back and neck discomfort that can be experienced when performing the traditional crunch. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squeeze your abdominals, bringing your belly button toward your spine and your hips forward. Place your hands behind your head and perform a crunch, bringing your shoulder and head down toward the floor. Be sure to maintain the space between your chin and chest, and keep your elbows out to the sides to avoid pulling your neck. Reverse the move, returning back to an upright standing position. Repeat 10 times.
Standing bicycle crunches
Begin in the same starting position as the standing crunch. With your feet shoulder-width apart, place both hands behind your head with the elbows bent out to the sides. Bend your right knee and bring it up to meet your left elbow, twisting at the core. Alternate sides, crunching your right elbow toward your left knee. Squeeze your abdominals throughout. Repeat 10 times to each side.
Standing side reaches
This move works your lower core muscles. Stand with your feet hips-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Place the right hand on the back of the head like you would for a crunch. Begin moving your torso down toward the left, crunching the left oblique, so that your right elbow reaches up toward the sky. Reach your left hand down toward the ground. Hold this position, squeezing the abs, then switch sides.
Standing crossover toe touch
This move combines flexibility training with abdominal strength training for a multi-purpose exercise. With your feet slightly wider than hips-distance apart, reach your right hand toward your left foot, raising your left leg straight out in front of you, until your fingertips touch your toes. Squeeze your abs as your return to the starting position. Then reach your left hand toward your right toes. Alternate, performing 10 times on each side.
Knee to elbow
Place your hands behind your head and stand with your feet as wide as your hips. Crunch the left elbow down toward the left side of the body and and bring the left knee up toward the elbow. Repeat this 10 times and then switch to the right side.