You don’t always want to do your everyday abs workout, or even use gym equipment to work your abs. Luckily, you don’t have to. If you’ve never thought about working your core while standing, you should as it is more beneficial than standard sitting abs exercises!

It may even be more effective because your core muscles aren’t just the ones you see in the mirror. They wrap all the way around your body, from your “six-pack” abs to your obliques (which hug the sides of your trunk) to the muscles that stabilise and support your spine.

With that in mind, we came up with the best standing abs moves that target your entire core. As you do them, focus on form over reps. For instance, use your abs to lift your leg each time, not your quads or glutes.

Pick 2 or 3 moves from the list and add them to a cardio or strength routine. Do each move for the designated number of reps or amount of time and do 2 rounds total.

The nice thing about abs: It’s hard to overdo them, so feel free to try 2 or 3 moves one day and 2 or 3 different moves the next time you work out.

1. March with twist:

Think of this move as slow high knees with an added twist. Stand with feet hip-width apart, shoulders down, arms overhead, and core braced.

How to:

  • Bring right elbow to left knee as you twist through your waist, then return to starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
  • Focus on using your core, not quads, to lift knee and squeeze obliques throughout.
  • Continue to alternate sides for 1 minute.

Related article: Carve Your Obliques And Get Rid Of Unwanted Love Handles With These 7 Towel Exercises

2. Wide second side crunch:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Turn toes outward and lower into a wide squat (sometimes called a wide second squat) by squeezing glutes, bending knees, and keeping hips in line with torso.
  • Remember: Don’t stick your butt out.
  • Raise arms into goalpost position (elbows bent to 90 degrees), engage your core, and bend to the right, trying to tap elbow to thigh.
  • Do 10 reps to the right and 10 to the left.
  • Alternate sides for 20 reps.

Related article: A Dumbbell Workout That Can Be Achieved From The Floor To Obtain Muscle Gain

3. Standing stabilisation:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both hands, and extend arms in front of chest.
  • Keeping arms straight and shoulders pressed down, rotate your upper body to the right and then return to centre.
  • Do 10 reps to the right and 10 to the left.
  • Alternate sides for 10 reps.

Related article: Seven Yoga Poses To Do Post-Workout For An Even Better Workout

4. Reverse chop:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball with both hands at chest height.
  • Lower the ball to the outside of your right foot, allowing knees to naturally bend and feet to pivot.
  • Bring the ball across your torso and overhead to the left, feeling your core engage.
  • Increasing your speed will create more of a challenge.
  • Do 10 reps, then switch sides.

Related article: 6 Hamstring Exercises You Should Add To Your Routine For Perfectly Shaped Legs

5. Standing side bend with dumbbells at side:

How to:

  • Hold a dumbbell you can safely manage in one hand (or two dumbbells in one hand as shown).
  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend from your waist to the right.
  • Engage core to pull torso upright.
  • Do right side only for 1 minute, then left side only for 1 minute.
  • Alternate sides for 1 minute.

Related article: The 10-Minute Stretching Sequence You Should Do Every Day To Assist With Your Training

6. Standing side bend with dumbbells overhead:

How to:

  • Start in the same position as in No. 5, holding a dumbbell with both hands (or two dumbbells as shown).
  • Extend arms overhead and bend at your waist to the right, keeping arms straight.
  • Use core to pull torso back to centre.
  • Do 1 minute to the right, then switch sides.

Related article: How to Boost and Sculpt Your Butt With These 5 Hip and Glute Exercises

7. Standing side crunch:

How to:

  • Stand with feet a few inches wider than hip-width apart.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and put your arms in goalpost position.
  • Engage your core and bring left elbow to left thigh by bending at your waist and performing a side crunch.
  • Rather than move elbow down, try to keep arms and shoulders in the same place throughout so you’re forced to use your obliques to perform the move.
  • Do left side only for 1 minute, then right side only for 1 minute.
  • Alternate sides for 1 minute.

Related article: 4 Techniques That Include Strength, Muscle Building, Endurance Or Fat Loss To Get The Body You Want!

8. Single-leg sprint:

Make it harder: For more of a challenge, add a twist, pulling right knee in to touch left elbow each time.

How to:

  • Start in a low lunge position with left knee bent, right leg straight behind you, and arms extended overhead.
  • Hinge forward slightly at hips, so chest is over left thigh.
  • Use your core to lift right knee toward chest and allow arms to come in at sides.
  • Replace leg on floor and, as quickly as possible, drive forward again.
  • Do 20 reps, then switch sides.

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9. Chair Pose twist:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, engage your core, send hips back, bend knees, and place hands behind head.
  • Rotate upper body to the right, hooking left elbow to outside of right knee.
  • Don’t allow hips to twist to the right — instead think about bringing left rib cage to right hip bone.
  • Rotate to the other side to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 20 reps.

Related article: The 8 Easy To Do Exercises To Define And Show Off Your Lower Abs

10. Side leg raise with side bend:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • With core engaged, bend from your waist to the right and simultaneously allow right foot to rise off floor, maintaining a straight arm and leg.
  • Engage obliques to feel a side crunch.
  • As you return to the starting position, tap right foot to the floor and immediately begin next rep (don’t put weight on right foot).
  • Do right side for 1 minute, then left side for 1 minute.
  • Alternate sides for 1 minute.

Related article: Your Yoga Cool-Down Routine To Compliment Your Workout Efforts

11. Standing twist:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, a dumbbell in each hand, and arms in goalpost position.
  • Rotate to the right, keeping hips level and using upper body to twist.
  • Rotate to the left.
  • Broaden across your chest and level your shoulders throughout.
  • Rotate from side to side for 1 minute.

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12. Overhead circle:

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball with both hands straight overhead.
  • Use the ball to “draw” a large circle on the ceiling.
  • Engage your core throughout and keep hips level and straight.
  • Do 30 seconds in one direction, then 30 seconds in the opposite direction.