Standing Ab Exercises - Time to Get Off the Floor!

Kind of a foreign concept eh? If I'm standing... hooooow can I possibly be working out my abs? (I hear the wheels turning.) It's kind of a cooky concept but don't poo-poo it just yet and decide to lay down and start rolling your shoulders up slightly from the floor, most likely without contracting your transverse abdominal muscle so you can protect your lower back from straining and pulling in all the wrong places. Not judging though. It's common practice to think abs and floor go together just like peas and carrots, isn't that what the mat section in the gym is for after all? Not for stretching (where's my emoticon with the eyes wide open expression when you need him??) 

Ok, all my dry humor is wearing thin so let's get down to brass tax and talk about full body moves, which rely on your core for strength, and can help build its strength. Double whamo. When you're standing up and you move your arms or your legs you will notice, if you pay attention, that your ab muscles contract. Their job is to provide immediate stabilization in your midsection so you don't end up tipping over and embarrassing yourself (you should really thank your abs for that). Without significant core strength, other parts of your body won't function as well. Think bat swing or golf swing. If you're not contracting your core to stabilize and prepare the body for movement then you're going to have no power in your swing. It will be like swiping at a nat. (Don't do that, especially if others are around. With the tipping over and the swiping people will think you're just plain drunk.) 

So incorporating full body moves to your exercise program will help the body move and strengthen in a way that makes sense, and it will focus on core strength and build it, functionally. I have three moves I'd like you to try, and you can first try them without weights and get comfortable with them, but as you continue, I'd like you to start adding in weights, and the heavier you go, the more you'll feel your abs getting in on the workout. I used 8 pounds in the video and they created for me good resistance that I was able to feel my core working to provide the strength needed to complete the move. 

Here is the video with all three standing ab exercises and below that are the descriptions for each move should you need them. I would start by doing 3 rounds of these exercises, 1st round doing 25 reps, 2nd round doing 15 reps, and last round doing 9 reps. Once you get comfortable, increase the reps and even the weight! (C'mon, you can do it!)

First exercise is the Wood Chop. Hold the dumbbell by one end and you'll feel how the weight wants to pull you with it. This is where your core comes into play, by allowing you to turn but not get pulled in the wrong direction or get off balance. Swing the weight up to about 45˚ while twisting your torso. When the arms are at the top of the move, stop and bring the arms back down, while dropping the butt and bending your knees so you can reach down to the opposite foot. Keep going up and down like this for each rep and then switch sides.

Second exercise is a Reverse Lunge with a Bicep Curl to an Overhead Press. Here you start with feet together and standing tall. Start with the bicep curl by bending your elbows and lifting the weights up to your shoulders. Then step back one foot and come into your lunge, getting your knees bent to 90˚. (If you can't do that to begin with, get as low as you can and work you're way up to it over time.) When you're coming down into the lunge, at the same time you will begin to raise both arms up overhead until they are straight above you. Then reverse the move and bring your back leg back to standing and lower your arms all the way back down. Repeat, this time bringing the opposite leg back. Keep alternating sides until you've completed all reps. 

Third exercise is a Step Forward with a Upper Back Row. Here you start feet together, standing tall. As you step one foot forward, you begin to raise your arms in front of you until they are up to shoulder height. Then as you complete the step forward, pull your elbows back, squeezing your shoulder blades together, trying to keep shoulders, elbows and wrists level. Then reverse the move and step back and lower the arms. Repeat, alternate legs until all reps are completed. 

Three moves helping to build a stronger core. If you decide to give it a go, drop a comment and share! :)