This Deceptively Simple Workout Targets *All* the Muscles in Your Core

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Photo: Twenty20 via @dmitriylo

Welcome to the second workout for Week Three of Well+Good’s (Re)New Year Challenge! For it, Kara Liotta, the creative director at FlyBarre, serves up a barre-inspired routine that’ll help sculpt a strong, toned midsection. Before you jump right in, though, she encourages you to pause and really think about the muscles each move's supposed to be working.

“A lot of times when people do core work, their neck bothers them more than their core,” she says. “And when that happens, they don’t get the benefits. Your core should be supporting you. You should feel the muscles contracting. It’s okay to support your head when doing the different exercises below if you need to. Listen to your body.”

Keep reading for 5 hardcore moves you can do at home—or anywhere—to help strengthen and tone your abs.

Core crusher workout

Do the entire workout once through. For it, you'll need some space in your home to get sweaty, a miniband, a mat, and a set of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells.

1. Hip tap plank with knee drive

Do 3 sets of 10 reps per side.

Start in forearm plank. Make sure your elbows are stacked underneath your shoulders. Engaging core and keeping chest square to floor, dip hips down toward left side. Return to start. Draw left knee in toward left tricep, then return to start for one rep.

2. Single-leg bridge hip pulse

Do 3 sets of 1 minute per side.

Start laying on your back with one foot on ground (ankle under knee) and other straight up with toes pointed up to ceiling at a 45-degree angle. Squeeze glutes and lift hips 3 inches off the floor. Pulse up and down in this position (without touching your butt to the mat) for 60 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

3. Side leg lift with pulse and circle

Do 3 sets of 1 minute per side.

Start in a modified side plank, with your left knee on the ground under your hip and wrist under your shoulder. Lift your right leg to hip height and place your right hand on your top hip. Point toes as you draw small counterclockwise circles. Continue for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.

4. Miniband squat to side kick

Do 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width, with miniband above knees. Squat down, keeping weight in the heels. Simultaneously return to stand and extend right leg out to the side while keeping foot flexed. Go straight back into squat for 1 rep. Do 12 reps; repeat on opposite side for one set.

5. Hollow body hold

Do 3 sets, 45-second hold (rest 45 seconds between each).

Start on your back and keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine. Drive your lower back into the mat. Lift your shoulder blades off the ground and straighten your arms (biceps near your ears). Extend your legs to a 45-degree angle. Engage your core to hold the position for 45 seconds.

Keep a good thing going! Dive into all of Well+Good's (Re)New Year program, including these pro tips for building strength in 2018.

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