Ab workout: standing core exercises that target the obliques

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Get a stronger core with this 10 minute standing abs workout – no crunches necessary.

Look, we all want to reap the benefits of a strong core (hello, better posture and reduced back pain). Yet it’s easier to carry on sitting at our desk rather than work out when the exercise options feel so repetitive. As good as a roster of sit-ups and plank holds is, we need to spice things up a little. Luckily, there’s way more to targeting the abdominal muscles than just crunching away. 

This workout takes you through three standing exercises that target stability and work through lateral planes of movement to strengthen the obliques and deep core muscles. 

Plus, it’s perfect while we’re out of the gym, as this 10-minute workout can be done from home, using just a dumbbell, water bottle or heavy book and requires no jumping or high impact work. And to that, we say “sit-ups who?”. 

Strong Women ambassador, Risqat Fabunmi-Alade shows you how it’s done. And if you want more workouts, expert advice and a whole catalogue of exercise tutorials, sign up to our Strong Women Training Club

Standing dumbbell rotation

Standing ab workout: dumbbell rotation
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold one dumbbell with both hands with your arms stretched out in front of you.
  2. Keep your knees soft as you twist your torso and arms to the left then back to the centre, being careful not to rotate through your hips. 
  3. Pause in the middle and rotate to the right, then go back to the centre.  

Repeat for 10 reps. 

Standing side crunch

Standing ab workout: side crunch
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and place both hands behind your head with your elbows opened wide. 
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor and bend the knee up towards your right elbow. As you do so, lean your right elbow down to meet your right knee. 
  3. Squeeze through the obliques (side abdominal muscles) as your knee and elbow meet. Don’t worry if they don’t touch, but get them as close as you can.
  4. Return your foot and elbow to return to the starting position, and repeat on the same side. 

Repeat for 10 reps each side. 

Wood-chop

Standing ab workout: wood-chop
  1. Bring your feet out slightly wider than before and hold a dumbbell by each head with both hands. 
  2. Squat down to bring the dumbbell down to the outside of your right ankle.
  3. Squeezing your core, straighten the legs to stand up and twist your core to bring the dumbbell across the body so your arms are extended overhead towards the left. 
  4. Lower down to the starting position and repeat. 

Repeat for 10 reps each side. 

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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