If your New Year’s resolution involves working more on your core, look no further than this workout, based on some of Julianne Hough’s favorite yoga-inspired ab exercises. Alone, these moves pack a major punch, but together they create a dynamic workout that works your entire midsection. Best part? No crunches or sit-ups required!
Side plank is a great way to work on both balance and core power, and with so many variations to side plank, it’s easy to modify the move to suit your fitness level.
To do a traditional side plank: Begin by sitting on the floor on one hip and pushing yourself up into side plank. The shoulder should be stacked over the wrist and the chest and hips should be facing the same side. Stack or stagger the feet, or do the plank on stacked knees if you feel you need more balance.
To work your abs and your balance even more, try the side plank with toe touch by getting into a traditional side plank position, raising your top arm up, and then kicking your bottom leg up and forward, slightly twisting your upper body to reach your hand to your foot.
While lunging isn’t a traditional ab exercise, the core strength it takes to lift your leg muscles when jumping into and out of a lunge means this move will seriously work both your abs and thighs.
To do a jumping lunge, get into a lunge position with your feet far enough away form each other to create 90-degree bends in both knees with the knee not passing over the toes. To power yourself out of the lunge, squeeze your glutes and core. Use your arms to help propel yourself up, and make sure that both feet leave the ground at the same time. Land in your lunge with the opposite leg forward with both feet hitting the ground at the same time.
While this exercise may sound whimsical, this powerful move combines the strength needed for the classic plank with the difficulty on balancing on one leg.
To try this move out, start in forearm plank position and bend your right knee, flex your foot, ensuring it’s parallel to the floor, and then press your foot up toward the ceiling. Make sure your pelvis and hips are straight by lifting with your glutes and not your lower back. Then, lower your right knee and repeat this movement, making sure your hips don’t sag and your butt doesn’t rise above torso level.
One of the best core-strengthening postures in any given yoga class, boat pose is a crazy-good core exercise that will leave you feeling strong.
To do a boat pose, sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean your upper body back to about a 45-degree angle while keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Then, lift your feet off the floor and try to extend your legs as much as possible while maintain proper form. Extend the arms so your hands just touch the sides of your knees and hold.
Sneak in some side crunches to ensure your abs are getting the attention they need to stay strong.
To do a side crunch, begin standing straight with your feet hips width apart. Then, raise one arm over your head, leaving the other arm either at your side or on your hip, if you feel you need more balance. Take the leg on the same side as the raised arm and bend the knee as you raise it to your side. Pull the knee into your armpit as your arm bends and crunches downward. Raise the knee as high as you can, then set the foot back down and repeat.
Article written by: Emily Keyes. Follow her here.