The Standing Abs Workout For A Strong, Firm Core

If you’re looking to really challenge and sculpt your core, try pausing the floor work in favor of this 10-minute standing abs workout created for SELF by Taylor Gainor and Justin Norris, co-founders of LIT Method, an LA-based fitness studio that focuses on low-impact training. While planks and mountain climbers have their place in targeting different core muscles, the beauty of standing abs moves is that they not only engages the ab muscles you can see, but also your deep core stabilizing muscles and the muscles of your hips and low back.

These stabilizing muscles help keep your body upright and support your other muscles, explains Norris, so exercises that engage and strengthen them (like standing core exercises) benefit your entire body. “Strengthening your stabilizing muscles will help to improve your posture, reduce your risk of injury, and prevent pain,” says Gainor. These ab exercises also work your anterior and posterior core muscles (the ones in the front and the back of your body), which help power you through functional movements (AKA, the ones you do in day-to-day life, like squatting in the gym or just squatting down to tie your shoe). Strengthening these muscles can also help prevent pain when you are sculpting with mat moves.

And standing ab exercises are an excellent option if you tend to have hip flexor, low back, or neck pain when doing traditional mat exercises like crunches. “This often result from having a weak core,” says Gainor. When standing upright, you won’t be relying on your neck or shoulders to compensate for weakness, which can lead to more pain and injury during mat exercises.

Here’s How To Do This Workout:

  • Set 1: Do each move for 30 seconds
  • Set 2: Do each move for 40 seconds
  • Set 3: Do each move for 50 seconds

“We structured the program in a progressive format to slowly warm your body up and progressively make the workout harder as time goes on,” explains Norris. This standing abs workout is exactly 10 minutes long, so there’s no rest time built in—the challenge is to go through the routine without stopping. So push yourself, but listen to your body and take a breather if you need it. (Understood, this workout is hard.)

Equipment Needed: One light- to medium-weight dumbbell (here’s how to choose the right weight for you).

1. Standing Core Rotation

Whitney Thielman

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell straight out in front of your chest with both hands.
  • Move your torso slightly, and slowly begin to rotate your arms to the right as far as you can.
  • Pause for a second. Then rotate in the opposite direction.
  • Alternate for 30 seconds during your first set.

2. Standing Oblique Crunch

Whitney Thielman

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands behind your head and elbows wide.
  • Lift your left knee toward your left elbow while you bend your torso up and over to the left.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on your right side.
  • Alternate for 30 seconds during your first set.

3. Good Mornings

Whitney Thielman

  • Stand with you feet hip-distance apart with your hands behind your head, elbows wide.
  • Keeping your core tight, bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at your hips so your upper body is parallel to the ground.
  • Return to standing.
  • Continue for 30 seconds during your first set.

4. Single-Leg Forward Reach

Whitney Thielman

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides.
  • Hinge forward with your hips and transfer your weight to your left leg as you reach your right leg behind you and your arms in front of you, parallel to the ground.
  • Slowly bring your leg and arms back to the starting position, then repeat on the other side.
  • Alternate for 30 seconds during your first set.

5. Front Lunge With A Twist

Whitney Thielman

  • Start standing with feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a big step forward with right foot and bend knees to lower into lunge while twisting torso over right leg.
  • Return to standing. Repeat on your left side.
  • Alternate for 30 seconds during your first set.

During your second set, repeat each exercise for 40 seconds. During your third set, repeat each exercise for 50 seconds.

Never knew your core could burn so good without a single sit-up, huh?

SELF – Workouts