Beach season may come and go, but a strong core is always in style. The thing is, you won't get an awesome set of abs by doing basic crunches. (And basic sit-ups won't get you there, either.)
1. Around-the-World Abs: Start on your hands and knees, with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, hips above your knees, and toes tucked under. Balancing on your left palm and right knee, lift your left knee out to the sideso your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keeping your ankle level with your knee, swing your knee forward as you tap it with your right hand. Then, swing your leg backward until your left ankle passes over the right leg on the floor. Simultaneously, reach your right arm back to tap your left heel. Continue alternating between left knee and heel touches for 45 to 60 seconds. Then repeat on the other side, this time swinging your right leg and touching with your left hand.
2. Standing Side Crunches: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Grab a towel with both hands and hold it taut overhead with both elbows locked. Then, brace your core as you lean to the left, lift your left leg, and bring the towel down to touch your left ankle. Return to the starting position, then repeat on the right. Continue alternating sides for 45 to 60 seconds.
3. Plank Side Sliders: Begin in plank position on your forearms with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, palms together, and a towel beneath each foot. (You can rest your forearms on a mat, but your towels should be on a flat, smooth surface.) Your body should form a straight line between your head and heels. Without dropping your hips, brace your core and slide your left foot out to the side as far as you can. Pause, then slide back to center and repeat with the right foot. Continue alternating sides for 45 to 60 seconds.
4. Butterfly Crunch With Leg Lift: Lay on your back with your hands cradling your head, your knees out to the sides, and your heels touching. Engage your core as you lift your head, neck, and shoulders up and off the ground. At the same time, lift your right leg straight up to the ceiling. Pause, then release with control so your foot hoovers above the floor without touching it. Repeat 10 to 15 times, then switch sides, this time lifting the left leg. Continue alternating sides for 45 to 60 seconds.
5. Bridge With Pelvic Circles: Lay on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms along your sides. Brace your core as you press into your heels and lift your butt up off the ground. Rotate your pelvis to the right, then tilt it upward, to the left, and down until your butt hovers just above the floor. Continue rotating in counterclockwise direction for 10 counts, then reverse and perform 10 circles in clockwise direction. Continue alternating directions for 45 to 60 seconds.
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