Core strength is vital to every functional movement you make, whether it’s sitting, walking, lifting, running, playing sports or doing virtually anything else that requires you to stand or sit upright.
But many classic core-strengthening exercises like crunches, most versions of planking, ab presses and “Superman” stretches have you on the floor.
These moves have a long-established record of improving core stability but can make focusing on this crucial group of muscles monotonous and create problems for those who have issues getting down and up from the floor.
Add in these standing exercises to train your abs, glutes, obliques, extensors and other muscles you need to move efficiently and gracefully through your daily life:
- Start in a low lunge position with your right knee bent, your left leg straight behind you, and your arms at your sides at a 90-degree angle. Lean over until your chest is over your right thigh.
- Use your core to lift your left knee toward your chest and return it back to the floor behind you, swinging your arms like you’re running. Keep your moving leg in sync with your opposite arm for better balance.
- Do 20 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Standing march with twist
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms behind your head, and abs engaged.
- Bring your right elbow to your left knee as you twist through your waist, then return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Try to use your core muscles instead of leg muscles to lift your knee by squeezing your obliques.
- Continue to alternate sides for 1 minute.
Standing side bend with dumbbell
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell you can safely manage in one hand. Place your free arm on your waist.
- Bend from your waist toward the side you’re holding the weights. Engage your core to pull your torso back upright.
- Alternate each side for one minute. Once you’ve mastered this movement, try lifting a dumbbell overhead with both hands and doing more side bends.