Instead of relying on the (admittedly, effective) pose, Dong uses a simple piece of equipment—a small sweat towel—to turn up the heat on a series of core exercises enacted from a kneeling position. "I love doing this [workout] before a cardio session because it really forces you to engage your core, or I love doing it first thing in the morning to get my posture right," she says.
The towel adds tension through the arms which, Dong notes, are not irrelevant to the overall aim of these exercises. "We forget that our arms are in fact attached to our core," she says.
As you move through this routine, Dong invites you to notice whether or not you have more range on one side of your body than on the other. "Maybe you're a little tighter, or maybe there's a more serious imbalance going on there," she says. If a discrepancy is discovered, she encourages you to resist the urge to sink down into your hips in order to compensate for a lack of range on one side or the other. "Hips are grounded, they're square," she says. "It's all about the obliques cutting in."
In other words, no shortcuts allowed if you truly want to reap the core benefits of these moves. Press play to add your new favorite, plank-free core workout into your weekly fitness regimen.
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