You can tone your abs without ever doing do a crunch again. And the good news gets even better! Standing ab exercises tone your middle while working your entire body, increasing your caloric burn. Try these three full-body exercises; since they're functional moves, they will make you stronger for activities outside the gym, too.
Overhead Circles With Medicine Ball
Stabilizing your torso against the weight of the moving medicine ball not only works your abs, but your arms will feel the burn, too. This is great exercise for your entire core.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your spine in neutral, lift a five- to eight-pound medicine ball overhead.
- Begin to circle the ball to the right, in the largest circles you can make, while maintaining a still and stable torso.
- Circle eight times to the right; then repeat, circling eight times to the left. Do three sets.
Side Bend With DumbbellsGreat for toning the waist and stretching the sides of the body, side bends are a simple move to add to your fitness routine. Don't speed through your reps; doing this exercise slowly and methodically is considerably harder and much more effective.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding five- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides.
- Bend sideways to the right, squeezing your waist on the right side. Keep your neck as neutral as possible, looking forward not down.
- Pull the left ribs down to return to standing upright. This focuses the work on the left obliques.
- Repeat for a total of 12 bends to the right, then switch sides. Do three sets.
Twisting Wood Chop With Medicine BallThe wood chop works the entire body with a strong focus on the core. This move will also raise your heart rate for an added cardio component. Use a five- to eight-pound medicine ball for this move.
- Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Twist to the left raising the ball over to your left shoulder.
- On an exhale pull your abs toward your spine and "chop" the ball down diagonally across your body toward the outside of your right knee. Imagine you're chopping some wood at this angle and the ball is your axe — the move is a bit percussive.
- Focus the on the rotation initiating in your torso.
- Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Remember you are moving with force but also control. Don't give into the momentum of swinging the ball around. Do three sets of 15 reps on each side.