The ‘Figure 8 Workout’ Will Fire up Your Abs Without You Even Realizing It

Photo: Getty Images/vgajic
It has come to my attention that something called the "Figure 8 Workout" is secretly all the rage in at-home fitness. If you're not well-versed in it, it's a cardio-dance-core hybrid exercise that's kind of like dance cardio or Zumba, but also moonlights as standing ab exercises back to back (to back to back).

Created by an actual Latin ballroom dancing professional, Laana Kunitz launched the Figure 8 workout years ago, and it's still popular today (based on Google Trends). She dubs it a "treadmill for your abs." How, you ask? It incorporates three-dimensional core exercises—working forward, backwards, rotational, and side-to-side—that target all of your core muscles, from your transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and your back... all while feeling fun and like you're just dancing it out to some 2001 Britney Spears.

In her instructional video (which you can find on YouTube), Kunitz walks you through the basic moves that incorporate the "Figure 8" itself: working your hips side to side like a pendulum, going in a circle with your spine, then jutting your hips to invisible corners while rotating your core. "Use your obliques to pump your hip corner and take it back," she demonstrates. It kind of, sort of feels like you're belly dancing, but there's a method behind it that makes it even more of a core workout. And once you nail the hip/ab/spine rotation moves, Kunitz adds in some foot work to pump up the whole thing.

"There's no question that dance and standing core work are some of the most effective ways to get the heart rate up and burn calories," says Kit Rich, celebrity trainer and founder of KICHGO. "Not to mention dance is fun. Combining dance and standing targeted core work is a great way to target the abs." I'm sold. If you need me tonight, I'll be in my living room knocking out some Figure 8 exercises as I blast pop music (and as my boyfriend and pets stare at me, confused). Crunches, who?

Here's how belly dancing videos are a form of self love, according to one of our editors. And this is how to properly engage your core, according to trainers. 

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