The best core workouts are the ones you don't even realize you're doing, which is why we love compound movements (think deadlifts and renegade rows) that sneakily challenge your abs while strengthening other major muscle groups, too.
"But sometimes you just need a little extra," says Ingrid Clay, certified personal trainer and founder of ISC Wellness.
This 10-minute sequence is that little something extra. Clay's routine strengthens your entire core, but it's quick enough to tack onto the end of any other workout.
So grab a mat and get ready to give your abs the special attention they deserve.
Get the most out of this workout by spending a few minutes on core activation to prep your muscles.
Clay will lead you through a 10-minute series of ab exercises. Keep your breath steady and consistent throughout the workout, and feel free to pause as needed.
If you're up for a challenge, Clay suggests adding a weight to take this workout to the next level. Hold a light dumbbell or kettlebell in both hands and use your core to lift and lower the weight in exercises like the sit-up or Russian twist.
- Crunch: Think about lifting your chin toward the ceiling while keeping your lower back flush against the ground.
- Reverse Crunch: Activate the lower body by pulling the knees in toward your face.
- Ball Hold: Press your elbows firmly into the tops of your knees and bring your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Ball Crunch: Keep these crunches tight and controlled. "Especially after that hold, you're going to feel it," Clay says.
- Leg Lower: Stop wherever you feel your lower back begin to lift off the ground. If needed, you can place your hands under your butt.
- Sit-Up: Avoid using momentum on the way up by keeping your arms extended in front of you and lower with control, Clay says.
- Sit-Up Twist: Keep your hands in front of your body, twisting and tapping your elbow to the opposite knee.
- Split Leg V-Up: Really reach your arm to the opposite foot to engage your obliques.
- Russian Twist: Keep your back straight and avoid hunching your shoulders. Lift your feet off the floor for an extra challenge, Clay says.
- Ball Hold: Keep your shoulder blades up off the ground and don't forget to breathe.
- Leg Circle: Extend your legs and draw little circles to the left and right while keeping your back flat on the ground.
- Slow Sit-Up: "There's a rope right above your face," Clay says. "You're going to grab hold of that rope and pull your body all the way up. Then, you're going to slowly let yourself down."
Even a core-focused workout deserves a proper cooldown routine — at least for a few minutes.
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