We love a plank hold as much as the next girl, and we’ll bicycle kick our way through just about anything. But if you’re looking for new ways to work your core that don’t involve face planting Superman-ing onto a sweaty exercise mat, we know just the thing. In fact, we know 15. These standing ab exercises are some of the most underrated moves in the fitness world. Just like the crunches, sit-ups and toe taps you love (or loathe), standing ab exercises target your entire core—including your back and glutes—to help you sculpt, tone and strengthen one of the most important muscle groups in the body.
Unlike the usual mat moves, standing ab exercises are functional, meaning they work with your natural body movements to mimic how you’d utilize your muscles in real life—say, when carrying groceries, mowing the lawn or deep cleaning the bathroom. They help support long-term balance and stabilization while also minimizing the strain on your neck, back, knees and wrists (especially if you experience any difficulty getting up off the ground). Plus, they can be done absolutely anywhere with minimal space and equipment required.
To help you get started, we tapped Fit Body App trainer Brittany Lupton for the lowdown on her favorite standing ab exercises. Show off at the gym or bust a move in your living room, but keep a lightweight dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate nearby to use as needed. And if you don’t have weights, feel free to sub in a full jug of water or laundry detergent (just make sure it’s easy to hold).