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3 Effective Abs Exercises Anyone Can Do

Target the core from all angles while giving participants choices.

Essentially, any exercise that uses the anterior and/or posterior muscles to stabilize the spine—and is performed in a coordinated fashion—works the core. It’s important to include some kind of core moves in all classes, particularly those in which core training might not be emphasized. Try the following exercises in one of your next classes; these moves are appropriate in a range of settings and will be effective with various pieces of equipment. The best part: You can modify the movements to create more or less challenge with a simple body-position adjustment or equipment change. This vests attendees with options to help them flourish. Note: Choose sets and reps based on preference and the time allotted. Switch sides on unilateral exercises.

Double-Tap Twist Crunch

Double-Tap Twist Crunch

  • Lie supine, hips and knees flexed, one foot on floor, other foot placed across opposite thigh (figure-four position).
  • Place fingertips lightly behind head, elbows pointing toward corners of room.
  • Flex spine, then rotate inside elbow to touch inside, then outside, of supported knee.
  • Rotate back to center, and lower to floor.
  • Progression: Lift foot off floor.

Side Plank with Rotation

Side Plank With Rotation

  • From side-lying position, place flexed elbow directly beneath shoulder, with forearm and wrist extended, hand making a fist.
  • Maintain alignment from ear to hip and knee joint.
  • Place top leg in front of body, toe of back foot touching heel of front foot. This kinetic connection aligns the body and helps control rotation.
  • Place fingertips of top arm just behind ear, elbow pointing toward ceiling.
  • Lift hips into side plank; rotate top elbow down toward floor, touching fist.
  • Slowly raise elbow back toward ceiling.
  • Progression: Stack feet on top of each other. Regression: “Kickstand” back knee to increase base of support.

Kneeling Roll-Out

Kneeling Roll-Out, Three Ways

ABDOLLY®

  • Place forearms directly onto AbDolly, knees and hips flexed under body, feet relaxed.
  • Press body forward, rolling AbDolly in front of body, lengthening spine and arms.
  • Return to start.
  • Progression: Return without flexing hips. Regression: Shorten range of motion and maintain flexion in elbow and hip joint.

Gliding™ Disc

  • Place one hand on single disc, arms extended directly under shoulders.
  • Place flexed knees on floor, hips extended in plank.
  • Slowly lower into pushup while extending hand on disc forward, lengthening arm.
  • As you press up, bring extended arm back beneath shoulder, returning to starting position.
  • Progression: Perform from full pushup. Regression: Decrease ROM through pushup and extended arm.

TRX® Suspension Trainer™

  • Using fully lengthened TRX Suspension Trainer straps, place knees on floor, and face away from anchor point, hands inside handles, arms lengthened slightly below shoulder height.
  • Drop body forward, flexing shoulder joints until biceps muscles frame head.
  • Keep neck aligned with body.
  • To finish, pull arms straight down and return torso and hips to starting position.
  • Progression: Move back, closer to anchor point. Regression: Begin movement farther away from anchor point.
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Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Irene Lewis-McCormick, MS

"Irene McCormick, MS, is the 2018 IDEA Instructor of the Year and the senior director of fitness education for Orangetheory Fitness® in Boca Raton, Florida. Former adjunct faculty at Drake University, Irene is a master course instructor for TRX®, a lead conference educator for WaterRower®, a Savvier Fitness master trainer, a Ryka® brand ambassador and an award-winning conference educator. She has also written two books, and is a subject matter expert for ACE, NASM, Human Kinetics and Orangetheory."

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