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Your feet placement while crunching could give you even stronger abs (yes, really!)

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Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio

When you’re working on getting a toned midsection, the last thing you’re thinking about is your feet. Crazily enough, utilizing those perfectly-pedicured toes could be exactly what your ab workout is missing—and something that could make all the difference when it comes to being the proud new owner of a seriously stronger core.

In a recent Instagram post, yoga teacher and physical therapist Lara Heimann shared that simply warming up your feet and toes could help you better train your abdominals. According to Heimann, all you need to do is start on your back with your legs straight up in the air (you can bend your knees if you want!) and your shoulder blades lifted with your head supported by your hands. Then, between some crunches, you do the foot work: After pushing your left toes into your right foot, lower your head back down. Then exhale and lift back up, repeating with your right toes pushing into your left foot, always resisting with the foot you’re pushing on. “You should feel this all the way into the deep core,” she says.

It’s an incredibly simple trick—but does something so minor actually make a major difference in your abs? Obviously it’s not going to give you a six-pack overnight (if only!), but it can impact your core over time because it makes the movement harder and works your abs on an even deeper level. “While holding a crunch, if you activate the other muscles in your legs and hip flexors by flexing, pointing, or rotating your feet, it’s only increasing the challenge,” New York City-based personal trainer Lana Herzig tells me. “If the movement is done over and over, it’ll help give you a tougher workout, which burns more calories while also strengthening your core overall.”

The next time you’re doing core exercises, you might as well add some foot work into your routine. Who knows—you could get some heel-related relief through those powerful stretches and perk up your abs in the process.

Here’s how to dance your way to a Julianne Hough-level core without a single ab exercise. Or, try these intense Pilates moves for a hard-core challenge for your abs.

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