Fitness Tips

An Abs Challenge That’ll Turn Everything You Knew About Core Work on Its Head

Kells McPhillips

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Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
Let's face it: No matter how many core workouts you've committed to your mental rolodex (and there are many), you'll inevitably grow bored by the umpteen-millionth crunch variation. So if a change in perspective is what you're seeking from an your abs workout, why not literally flip your view by going... upside down.

"[Inverting] mixes up the regular muscle memory and puts your body in a new position," explains New York City-based trainer Meg Takacs. "Anytime you do that, you're going to confuse your muscle memory and test new ways to move." Doing so on a consistent basis will make you a more well-rounded sweat fanatic, according to the trainer. Plus, think about: You're holding your whole bod up with just your torso and arms. "In this position, you handling your own bodyweight more because you are at more of an inverted angle, which requires you to stabilize and balance more weight," she adds.

So go ahead, cartwheel all over that gym turf. (I'll wait.)

Below, check out your new world-tipped-on-its-head abs routine.

Step 1: warm up

Before your toss all your weight onto your hands, Takacs recommends starting off with more traditional core exercises to prep the muscles you'll be engaging. Namely, the shoulders, core, and arms. "I would start with building up practicing abs exercises, specifically plank variations, on your forearms: Start with 30 seconds and increase all the way to 2 minutes, freestyling leg and arm movements in a plank," she says.

Then, go half-way upside down by placing your feet onto a box or another stable surface (like a wall). "Anytime your feet or body is at a decline, you are going to be practicing getting to a full inversion. So treat the movements as a progression and use a higher surface each time you practice to acclimate accordingly," explains Takacs.

Step 2: Go upside-down

Once you've managed to shimmy your toes all the way up to a shape that almost resembles a handstand, suck in your belly for 30 seconds. And bam, you're now ready to channel your inner yogi with these four moves. (Psst: If you need a visual, check out the Takacs' IG video above for moves 1, 2, and 4.)

1. Reverse mountain climbers: Position palms under shoulders with toes on the wall. At first, slowly bring one knee down to your nose and then switch legs.

2. Mountain Climbers: In the same position, bring your knees to your nose. Alternate legs.

3. Shoulder taps: With your legs still on the wall, alternate bringing hands up to shoulders.

4. Oblique crunches: Bring your knee as close to your elbow as you can. Squeeze your sides when you bring your leg in.

If you're ready to bid goodbye to the wall handstand assist, these moves will help you learn how to press into the inversion. And this chair pose variation will help, too. 

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