Bored with planks and all crunched out? Try these little known core exercises.
When it comes to sculpting strong, tight abs, there’s a lot more you can do other than planks, sit-ups, and crunches. Personal trainer Rachel Cosgrove, the genius creator of the Women’s Health Spartacus 4.0 Workout in the Women’s Health Personal Trainer subscription tool, shines the spotlight on three surprising moves you’d never think were so abs-tastic but will help build and tone a powerful core.
It has a rep as an awesome arm and shoulder builder, “but anytime you bring weight over your head, you’re forced to brace your core, which makes abs muscles stronger,” says Cosgrove. Stand and hold a pair of dumbbells level with your shoulders, elbows bent, palms facing each other. Lift them directly overhead until your arms are straight in the air, hold, then lower back down to start.
You know this move as a leg and butt tightener. “Step-ups are great for abs too because you’re balancing on one leg, you’re engaging your core,” says Cosgrove. Stand in front of a step or other raised surface, placing your left foot on it. Push your body up tall, until your left leg is straight. Return to start. Feel like a challenge? To push your abs to work even harder, Cosgrove suggests doing step-ups and overhead presses together.
Lunge with Rotation
“Rotational exercises involve turning at the waist, so they work your abs,” says Cosgrove. Get in a lunge position, your right leg forward and bent, knee dropped so it’s directly over your foot. Put your hands on your head with your elbows out, keep your lower body planted firmly, and rotate your upper body right, turning your head so you’re facing right as well. Hold, then slowly return to center to start.