5 Standing Core Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches

Standing Ab Exercises
Photo: Pond5

This workout comes to you from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Jenny Harris. You can find more great moves from DailyBurn’s elite trainers at DailyBurn.com.

There’s nothing fun about squirming on the floor, trying to force yourself to do crunches, when your body (and heart) just aren’t into it. Luckily, you can stand up and dust yourself off. Because we’ve got five standing core exercises from DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Jenny Harris that promise to work your abs in a whole new way.

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“These [moves] are better than crunches because they incorporate more range of motion,” Harris says. “And since you’re standing, you’re automatically increasing the amount of stability [needed], which engages your core already.”

Before you get started, it’s important to remember a few basic rules when doing a standing ab workout. First things first: Don’t forget about your posture. “Make sure your back is in the proper position, and you’re not hunching over,” Harris says. “Keep everything engaged throughout the whole movement.” Standing up will actually make it easier to activate your core, which is crucial for executing these movements, Harris says. “I don’t know if you want to use the word clenching, but that’s kind of what it is,” she says. “Before you start the movement you want to hold your stomach in tight.”

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Ready to take a stand for your abs? Do each of these moves for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Complete the full circuit four times each for a core workout that will be a great challenge. Or, if you’re an ab-workout newbie, concentrate on mastering one move per day, aiming for three sets of 15 repetitions.

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5 Ab Exercises You Can Do Standing Up

5 Standing Ab Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches: Frankenstein Kick
1. Frankenstein Kick

How to: Stand up tall with your back straight, feet together, arms held straight in front of your body at chest-height (a). Engaging your core, kick up your right leg, until your toes touch the tips of your fingers (or as far as you can go), without bending at your hips (b). Lower your leg with control, then repeat on the opposite side. (Bonus: This is a great dynamic warm-up for running workouts too!)

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5 Standing Ab Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches: Knee-to-Elbow Twists
2. Knee-to-Elbow Twists

How to: Stand with your back straight, feet hip-width apart, hands behind head (a). Shift your weight into your right leg, engaging your core to bring your left leg up to hip-height, bending at the knee (b). At the same time, squeeze your abs to twist your torso so that your right elbow comes to meet your left knee (c). Return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

5 Standing Ab Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches: Wood Choppers
3. Wood Choppers

How to: Stand up straight, feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. If you have a medicine ball, or weight, hold it over your head with your arms straight, or go weight-free (a). Keeping your back straight and arms extended, bend from your waist and gently bend your knees to lower the medicine ball to the outside of your left foot (b). Engage your core to lift the medicine ball back up above your head (c). Repeat on opposite side.

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5 Standing Ab Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches: Tuck Jump
4. Tuck Jump

How to: Stand up tall, feet hip-width apart, arms extended straight out in front of you (a). Bend from your knees, then jump up, engaging your abs to bring your knees close to your chest (b). Land with your knees bent to soften the impact (c). Straighten your legs, then repeat.

Standing Ab Exercises for People Who Hate Crunches: Hanging Knee Raises
5. Hanging Knee Raises

How to: Hang from a bar or sturdy object, arms and legs straight, hands positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (a). Keeping your legs together, engage your shoulders and core to bring your knees to your chest (or as high as you can go) (b). Engage your abs to extend legs back towards the floor.

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