Print Out This 2-Week Crunch Challenge

If you’re a fan of ab exercises, you’ll love this challenge that gets you all the way to 100 crunches in just two weeks. It involves five types of crunches to work different areas of your core so once you learn how to do them, you can start crunching your way through this 14-day plan. You can also download and print the PDF version of the challenge to hang on your fridge, the wall of your home gym, or in your work cubicle office.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Print Out This 2-Week Crunch Challenge

If you’re a fan of ab exercises| you’ll love this challenge that gets you all the way to 100 crunches in just two weeks. It involves five types of crunches to work different areas of your core so once you learn how to do them| you can start crunching your way through this 14-day plan. You can also download and print the PDF version of the challenge to hang on your fridge| the wall of your home gym| or in your work cubicle office.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

25 No-Equipment Moves That Transform Your Body

25 No-Equipment Moves That Transform Your Body

Whether you’ve let go of your gym membership or you’re spending more time shaping up from home| these effective no-equipment moves need to be part of your strength-training routine. You might be all about cardio for that big calorie burn| but a recent study found that strength training burns roughly Upper Body] [Core] [Lower Body] [Plyometrics]| Upper Body: Push-Up

  • Start in a plank position| with palms spread out evenly and your shoulders over your wrists and legs out behind you. Pull your belly button in| and keep your back straight.
  • As you lower and exhale| bend your elbows outward to the sides. Hold at the bottom before you raise back up to complete one rep.

| Upper Body: Diamond Push-Ups

  • Start in plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
  • If your knees aren’t on the floor| separate your feet so they’re about shoulder-width apart to help you stay balanced throughout the exercise.
  • Place your hands together| directly under your sternum| with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
  • Bend your elbows out to the sides| and lower your chest toward the floor. Then exhale to straighten your arms. This counts as one rep.

| Upper Body: Superman

  • Lie on your belly| engage your abs| and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Lift your legs| arms| and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10| and then slowly release your body back to the floor. This completes one rep.

| Upper Body and Core: Plank Up and Down

  • Come into a plank position with your arms and legs straight. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and your feet hips-width distance apart.
  • Keep your torso parallel to the floor| and lower your right forearm to the mat and then the left| coming into elbow plank.
  • Then step your right hand back onto the mat| and then the left| pushing yourself back up to plank position. This completes one push-up walk.

| Upper Body and Core: Lateral Plank Walk

This move will challenge your core and define your deltoids| shaping your shoulders.

  • Begin in plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your body in one straight line.
  • Simultaneously cross your right hand toward the left as you step your left foot out to the left. Then simultaneously step your left hand and right foot to the left| returning to the plank position. Your hands move together as your feet step apart. Take two more steps in this direction| keeping your abs pulled toward your spine and your pelvis level. This completes one rep.
  • Reverse directions| taking three steps to the right.

| Upper Body and Core: Push-Up and Rotate

  • Begin in a plank position with your feet in line with your hips.
  • Lower your body toward the floor| and then push through your arms| returning to plank.
  • Twist to the left| reaching your left arm to the ceiling without letting your pelvis rise or lower.
  • Return to plank position| bringing your hand back to the floor. This completes one rep.

| Upper and Lower Body: Reverse Plank Bridge

  • Begin seated with your hands behind you with your fingers pointed away from you.
  • Press the heels of your feet and hands into the ground as you raise your pelvis off the floor until it is in line with your shoulders and knees.
  • Lower your pelvis back to the ground to complete one rep.

| Core: Bicycle Crunches

  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground (pull your abs down to also target your deep abs). Interlace your fingers| and put your hands behind your head.
  • Bring your knees in toward your chest| and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left| bringing your right elbow toward the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  • Now switch sides and do the same motion on the other side to complete one rep (and to create the “pedaling”” motion).

| Core: Seated Russian Twist

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent| pull your abs to your spine| and lean back a few inches while lifting your feet off the floor. Be sure to keep your back straight.
  • Reach your arms out in front of you| and twist your torso to the right| then to the left| repeating for one minute. Lower your heels to the ground if you need to.

| Core: Reverse Crunch

  • Lie on your back on the floor. Place your hands on the floor beside you.
  • Bring the knees in toward the chest with your feet together.
  • Use your abs to slowly curl the hips off the floor and into your chest| and then slowly lower them back to the starting position to complete one.
  • Repeat for one minute. Don’t swing your legs to create momentum; use your abs to control your movement.

| Core: V-Sits

  • Lie on your back| and reach your arms rigidly to your side| off the floor. Lift your legs off the floor| and point them| so they are at about a 45-degree angle. Lift your head| so your shoulders are off the floor as well.
  • When you’re ready to begin| lift your upper torso off the floor| and bend your knees. You can lean back to make this move harder or come up more to make it easier. Slowly lower your upper body back down to the floor| straightening out your legs as you do so. Stop when your back is on the floor| but not your head| shoulders| or legs.
  • This completes one rep.

| Core: Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a traditional push-up starting position u2014 shoulders over hands and weight on just your toes.
  • Bring your right foot forward| bending the knee and putting weight on the ball of your foot.
  • Switch legs| bringing the left knee forward while moving the right leg back. This completes one rep.

| Core: Side Plank

  • Sit on your left side with your legs slightly bent and your feet stacked.
  • Place your left hand about 12 inches from your pelvis.
  • Push your hand into the ground| and straighten your legs as you lift your pelvis off the ground. If you have trouble balancing| stagger your feet| so the top leg is in front.
  • Hold for 30 seconds| and switch sides to complete one rep.

| Core: Full Sit-Ups

  • Lay on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the ground| and place your hands on opposite shoulders.
  • Keeping your heels on the ground and your toes flat to the ground| engage your abdominal muscles| and gently lift your head first| followed by your shoulder blades| coming into a full-sit up position.
  • Hold the position for a second| and with control| come slowly back do to lying on your back.
  • This completes one full sit-up.

| Lower Body: Good Morning

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart| and place your hands at the back of your head with your elbows opened wide.
  • Pull your abs to your spine| and keep your back neutral while pressing your butt backward| hinging at that hips| until your back is almost parallel to the floor. Keep a slight bend in your knees as you bend forward.
  • Return to standing| squeezing your glutes when you are upright. This completes one rep.

| Lower Body: Basic Squat

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest to help you stay balanced| and bend your knees| lowering your hips deeply| so your thighs are parallel with the floor. Make sure to keep your weight back in your heels.
  • Then rise back up| straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement to get the most out of the exercise.
  • This counts as one rep.

| Lower Body: Wall Sit

  • Stand with your back against a wall| placing your feet about two feet in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • Bending your knees| slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90-degree angles. Your knee joints should be over your ankle joints| so you may need to inch your feet farther from the wall to create proper alignment. Don’t let your knees fall into the midline of your body or sway outward.

| Lower Body: Sumo Squat

  • Stand with legs wide and toes pointed outward slightly. Place your hands at your head with elbows wide to challenge your abs as you do this move.
  • Bend your knees until they are over your ankles. Your feet should be far enough apart that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees near 90 degrees. Push through your heels to straighten your legs. This completes one rep.

| Lower Body: Side Lunge

  • Step your left leg back into a deep lunge| making 90-degree angles with both knees.
  • Raise your arms out to the side until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees| making loose fists with your hands.
  • Hold the lunge while as you rotate your upper arms forward to bring your fists to the floor; then rotate the upper arm backward to bring the fists up. Do not lower or raise your upper arms; keep them parallel to the floor. This complete one rep.

| Lower Body: Lunge

  • Keep your upper body straight| with your shoulders back and relaxed and your chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you| so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core.
  • Step forward with one leg| lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle| not pushed out too far| and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. This counts as one lunge.

| Lower Body: Single-Leg Balance Touch

  • Begin standing with arms overhead with all your weight on your left foot.
  • Keeping your spine long| reach forward| bending your left knee| and touch both hands to the ground. Keep your abs engaged to keep your torso stable.
  • Lower your right leg down while lifting your torso| bringing your arms overhead to complete one rep.

| Plyometrics: Jump Squat

  • Start by coming into a squat with your arms by your sides.
  • Swing your arms to the ceiling as you jump off with both feet. Land quietly as you return to the squat position. This completes one rep.

| Plyometrics: Jumping Lunges

  • Stand with your feet staggered| your left foot slightly in front of your right. Making sure you’re not too stiff| keep your stance active with your knees bent in a slight but not full lunge.
  • With your core engaged| push off the bottom of both feet into a jump| switching the position of your feet in midair| landing in a basic lunge with your right leg in front.
  • Without rest| repeat this movement| alternating which leg is in front. This completes one rep.

| Plyometrics: High-Knee Skips

  • Skip in place by hopping on your right leg while bringing the left knee up toward your chest.
  • Engage your abs as the knee comes toward your chest.
  • Switch legs| and keep skipping while pumping your arms.
  • This completes one rep.

| Plyometrics: Burpee

  • Lower into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor.
  • Do a squat thrust by jumping your feet back into a plank position.
  • Do one basic push-up| bending the elbows and then straightening back to plank.
  • Jump the feet forward to the hands| and come into a squat.
  • Do an explosive jump straight up| getting as much height as you can.

    Skip the Crunches and Try These 25 Ab-Sculpting Moves

    Skip the Crunches and Try These 25 Ab-Sculpting Moves

    Let’s be honest: crunches aren’t the most exciting of exercises. And they’re not always the most effective way to tone your abs anyway. If you’re bored with your sit-up routine| here are 25 fun and effective moves to mix up your workout and tone your midsection!

    u2014 Additional reporting by Emily Bibb and Jenny Sugar

    | Lying Overhead Reach

    Work your shoulders and your abs with this exercise.

    • Lie on your back with your hips and knees both at 90-degree angles| using your low abs to press your lower back into the mat. Raise your arms toward the ceiling| keeping the elbow joint slightly bent.
    • Reach your arms overhead| bringing the dumbbells to tap the dumbbells on the floor above your head. Do not let your back arch away from the floor as your lower the weights.
    • Raise your arms back to the starting position to complete one rep.
    • Do 15 reps to complete a set.

    Use five- to 10-pound weights.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Overhead Circles With Medicine Ball

    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your spine in neutral| lift a five- to eight-pound medicine ball overhead.
    • Begin to circle the ball to the right| in the largest circles you can make| while maintaining a still and stable torso.
    • Circle eight times to the right; then repeat| circling eight times to the left. Do three sets.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Ball Pass

    • Lie on your back holding an exercise ball above your chest| extending your feet up toward the ceiling.
    • On an exhale| move your arms and legs away from each other| lowering both toward the ground. Inhale to bring them back toward each other| and transfer the ball from your hands to your legs.
    • Then lower your arms and legs toward the floor away from each other.
    • Bring them back together| transferring the ball back to your hands.
    • Continue like this| completing 10 to 20 reps.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Tabletop to Reverse Pike

    • Start off sitting on your bum| so your hands are planted eight inches behind you. Bend your knees and place your heels about a foot away from your hips. Make sure they are hips-width distance apart.
    • Inhale and lift your hips off the ground so your torso is parallel with the floor and your arms are straight. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and your ankles underneath your knees| so make small adjustments if you need to. Lower your head behind you to increase the stretch in your chest and neck.
    • Hold for a complete breath| and then keeping your arms straight| exhale to lower your hips and straighten your legs| so your hips are hovering above the floor. Engage your abs and try to keep your spine long as you balance on your heels and hands. After a complete breath| inhale and push yourself back into the first position.
    • Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps| flowing from one to the other| pivoting on your hands and heels. To make this move more challenging| hold each position for longer.

    This exercise not only tones the arms| but will get your mid abs burning.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Seated Russian Twist

    • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
    • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important| and difficult| to keep your back straight| but don’t let it curve.
    • Hold a weight or a medicine ball just below your chest. Keep the weight close you and progress by moving weight further away from your body.
    • Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating| not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. This completes one rep.
    • Do 16 full rotations.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Flutter Kicks With Resistance Band

    • Sit on a mat or carpeted floor. Loop one handle of the resistance band on either foot. Hold on to the middle of the tube with both hands and lie on your back.
    • Draw your navel toward your spine and press your low spine into the floor to protect your lower back| then lift both legs up so they are almost pointing straight up toward the ceiling.
    • Holding the band securely| scissor your legs up and down one at a time| starting with the left leg. Move slowly and point your toes. Each time your right foot lowers down counts as one set. Complete 10 to 15 sets.
    • To make this move more difficult| lower your legs so they are about six to 10 inches above the floor. Make sure to keep your abs scooped when you work with your legs close to the ground. Scissor your legs for another 10 to 15 sets.

    This is a great low ab exercise.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Elbow Plank

    Planks are great for working the abs| and the elbow plank is harder on the abs than the traditional plank in push-up position.

    • Start face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
    • Push off the floor| raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows.
    • Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.
    • Keep your back flat u2014 don’t let it droop or you’ll be defeating the purpose. Picture your body as a long straight board| or plank.
    • Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute| as you get stronger.
    • Repeat three times.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Leaning Camel

    • Stand on your knees with your toes tucked. If this hurts your knees| fold up a mat or towel and kneel on that for a little cushioning. Your thighs should be parallel.
    • Hold a dumbbell comfortably with both hands in front of your chest. I use an eight-pounder.
    • Take a breath in and as you exhale| use your quad muscles to lower your torso behind you. Don’t arch your back as in Camel pose| but instead keep your torso in one straight line. As you inhale| return your torso back to the starting position.
    • Repeat for a total of 15 times. Complete a total of three sets.

    This exercise works the entire abdominal wall and give the quads an active stretch to boot!

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Dead Bug

    The name may make you laugh| but this stability exercise fires up the core| working both the front and back of the body.

    • Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your hips and knees at right angles with your palms pressed into your thighs just above your knees.
    • Pull your abs to your spine keeping your ribs and pelvis still as you lengthen your right arm and leg out until they are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your torso and spine completely stable as the arm and leg move.
    • Return to the starting position| and repeat on the left side to complete one rep.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Standing Ab Rollout

    • Place your palms on the ball| and stand with your legs wide| about three or so feet apart. Walk the ball out so your back is straight and your hips are in the same line as your ankles.
    • From here| lean your body forward| allowing the ball to roll down your forearms. Stop once your elbows reach the ball and you’re balancing on your tiptoes.
    • Then use your core and legs to get your body back to the starting position. Keep your abs engaged throughout this move.
    • Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Pilates Corkscrew

    • Lie on your back| and pull your knees into your chest. Reach your legs up to the ceiling| and tightly squeeze them together| focusing on connecting your inner thighs.
    • Reach the legs over to the right| allowing the hips to lift away from the floor.
    • Reach the legs back to center but still engaged| ensuring that the lower back remains on the floor.
    • Reach the legs over to the left| grounding the shoulders and allowing the hips to move first| the rib cage if possible next. Pull the legs back up in toward the body. This counts as one rep.
    • Repeat 10 times.

    This classic Pilates moves strengthen your obliques| core| and legs| while stretching your hips away from your ribs.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Plank and Rotate

    Twisting in a plank position fires up the core and works those love handles.

    • Begin in a plank position holding a five-pound dumbbell in each hand| keeping your wrists stiff to protect the joints. Open your feet a little wider than hip distance.
    • Lift your left hand to the ceiling| twisting through your entire torso. Your pelvis will rotate| but keep it level.
    • Bring your left hand back to the floor| and repeat this action on the other side to complete one rep.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps to complete a set.

    Use five- to eight-pound dumbbells.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Single Leg Forward Reach

    Similar to yoga’s Warrior 3| this exercise fires up your core by challenging your balance. As you move in and out of the pose| you will be working the back of your body too.

    • Stand with all your weight in your left foot| abs engaged and chest lifted.
    • Reach your torso forward as you lift your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor.
    • Hold this position for a moment| and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
    • Moving in one piece| lower your right leg toward the floor as you return to standing upright| resting the right foot lightly on the ground. This completes one rep.
    • Do 10 reps before switching sides; and do two to three reps.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Twisting Wood Chop With Medicine Ball

    • Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Twist to the left raising the ball over to your left shoulder.
    • On an exhale pull your abs toward your spine and “”chop”” the ball down diagonally across your body toward the outside of your right knee. Imagine you’re chopping some wood at this angle and the ball is your axe u2014 the move is a bit percussive.
    • Focus the on the rotation initiating in your torso.
    • Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
    • Remember you are moving with force but also control. Don’t give into the momentum of swinging the ball around. Do three sets of 15 reps on each side.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Scissor Abs

    • Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they’re against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor| or bend your elbows and place your palms under the back of your head. Bend your knees and draw them into your ribs. This will make it easier to pull your navel in toward your spine and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
    • Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling| continuing to engage your abs and pressing your lower back into the ground. Keeping your core strong| slowly lower your right leg down toward the ground until it is a few inches above. Then slowly scissor your legs| lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the ground.
    • You may not feel this until you do it for a while| so repeat this move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg (or more if you’re still not feeling it).
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Overhead Dumbbell Side Bend

    • Hold the dumbbell above your head| squeezing your ears with your upper arms to activate your core.
    • Pull your abs to your spine and lengthen your spine as you bend slowly to the right. Return to standing upright| and then slowly to the left. Keep your pelvis still as you bend to the side.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Birdog

    • Get on all fours| with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Remember to keep abs engaged and keep your back flat.
    • Reach out with your right hand and extend your left leg out behind you.
    • Round your back and head to connect your right elbow with your left leg under your body. Extend right hand and left leg back out.
    • Repeat for a total of 15 times| then switch sides.

    See the quadruped in action here.

    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Ball Pike to Plank

    Make sure the ball is sized to your body; you should be able to sit on the ball with 90-degree angles at your hips and knees.

    • Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your shins on the ball.
    • Do not allow your lower back to arch. Keep your feet| pelvis| and shoulders in one long line.
    • On an exhale| pull your abs deeply to your spine and use your abs to fold your body in half| pulling the ball forward toward your hands as your pelvis moves up in the air.
    • Your toes will move onto top of ball and your back will become perpendicular to the floor like a handstand. Allow your head to fall between your arms| keeping your neck long and in line with your spine.
    • Lower yourself back into a plank position and do not allow your pelvis to sag below your shoulders.
    • Do 10 reps for two to three sets.
    Source: POPSUGAR Studios

    | Alternating Two-Point Plank

    • Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet in line with your hips. Lift your left leg off the ground so your heel is even with your pelvis.
    • Keeping your torso steady| reach your right arm forward. Really brace through your abs by pulling your navel to your spine. Hold this position for about three seconds. It’s harder than you think!
    • Return to plank| then switch sides lifting your right leg off the ground and reaching your left arm forward. Hold for three seconds and return to plank. This is one rep.
    • Do two to three sets of 10 reps each.
    • Source: POPSUGAR Studios

      | Plank With Bunny Hop

      • Begin in a plank position with feet touching.
      • Pull your abs in| and jump your feet to the right| bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Your torso will twist to the right.
      • To complete one rep| jump your feet back to plank.
      • Repeat on the other side and continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.
      Source: POPSUGAR Studios

      | Side Elbow Plank With a Twist

      • Come into a side plank on your right side| with your feet stacked one on top of the other and your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body.
      • Place your left arm behind your head| and inhale to prepare.
      • Exhale and pull your navel to your spine to engage your deep abs and rotate your left ribcage toward the floor. Stay there for a second and deepen your abdominal connection pulling your navel in toward your spine even more.
      • Return to starting position and repeat seven more times for a total of eight reps| then switch sides. Repeat series again on both sides.

      This move works the obliques and helps tone the love handles.

      Source: POPSUGAR Studios

      | Down Dog Abs

      • Start in a Downward Dog pose| actively pushing your weight into your heels while reaching your tailbone to the sky. Lift your left leg up squeezing the left glute.
      • Exhale rock your weight forward over your hands| draw your left knee toward your nose pulling your abs to your spine to round your back.
      • Inhale and lift your left leg up as your push your weight back into your heels. This complete one rep.
      • Do 10 reps| each side.
      • Source: POPSUGAR Studios

        | Medicine Ball Alphabet

        To start: Grab a medicine ball that’s between five and 15 pounds. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart| making sure your knees are not locked. Then try one of these two variations.

        • For stability: Start with the ball at chest level| and slowly write the cursive alphabet in front of you. While your arms move around in all sorts of angles| you need to use your abs to keep your torso still. Think of keeping the area between your ribs and pelvis solid. For a more advanced version| try this move while standing on a BOSU.
        • For mobility: Start with the ball at chest level| but increase the range of motion of your arms making your alphabet larger| using your torso and rib cage to write the letters as well. Keep your abs engaged the entire time. For more of a challenge| try this version in a squat or a lunge.
        Source: POPSUGAR Studios

        | Row With Twist

        • Start in a shallow squat| holding the weight in your right hand.
        • Pull your elbow back| squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine while you twist to the right. Do for 30 seconds| then switch sides.

      | Kettlebell Windmill

      • Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart.
      • Rotate your left toes outward and raise your right arm above your head| keeping your eyes trained on the weight.
      • Shift your hips to the right. Don’t let your pelvis swing behind you as you move into the sassy position.
      • As you shift your hips right| your weight will shift to the right| too. You should feel about 60 percent of your weight in your right foot.
      • Lower your torso toward the floor| so the kettlebell hovers just off the floor.
      • Keep your body as flat as possible| with the ankles| hips| and shoulders in one plane. This position feels a lot like a tight Triangle pose in yoga.
      • Keep your torso still as you bring your left hand to your left shoulder in a biceps curl.
      • Keeping your left arm bent and your right arm pointing to the ceiling| come to standing position. Imagine your waist doing all the work to move your torso upright.
      • Shift your pelvis back to center once again to distribute your weight evenly between both feet.
      • Complete the rep by bringing your left arm overhead| working your shoulder. Lower your left arm down to return to starting position| and repeat.
      • Do three sets of eight to 10 reps on each side.

      Follow our step-by-step tutorial of the windmill to learn the subtleties of the exercise. Don’t worry if you don’t have kettlebells u2014 you can use dumbbells| too.

      Source: POPSUGAR Studios

      | Bonus: 5-Minute Ab Workout

      Here’s a bonus that’s not just one move| but a five-minute video workout combining tons of exercises to tone your abs without a single crunch.

    Core-Carving Yoga Poses

    Core-Carving Yoga Poses

    It may be months before you’re slipping on a bathing suit again, but that doesn’t give you the green light to forget about your abs. Even under your baggy sweater, it’s still important to maintain a strong, toned core. It will not only prevent back pain, improve your balance and posture, and make running, skiing, and other sports feel easier, but you’ll also feel confident in and out of your clothes. Unroll that yoga mat and do these nine poses that’ll leave you so sore, it’ll hurt to laugh tomorrow.

    | Warrior 3

    Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose, you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.

    • Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
    • Exhale as you bend forward at your hips, lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine, and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand, lower your right leg, and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.

    | Camel

    A classic backbend that increases spinal flexibility, Camel also works your core muscles and opens tight shoulders.

    • Stand on your shins with your knees hips-width distance apart.
    • Lean back, and place your hands on your heels, arching back and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades.
    • Continue to press the hips forward to engage the abs, thighs, and tush, enjoying this pose for five breaths.

    | Dolphin Plank

    Even yogis love elbow planks, but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.

    • From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
    • Dolphin Plank is an intense pose, so if you can’t hold for five breaths, lower one or both knees to the floor.

    | Balancing Star

    This pose is a side plank on crack . . . in a good way. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.

    • Begin in Downward Facing Dog, and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat, so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side, and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
    • Gaze at your lifted hand, and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.

    | Crow

    Arm balances require more than arm strength; they’re really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.

    • Begin in a squat, placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can, creating a strong, stable base. Straighten your legs slightly, placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
    • Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.

    | Boat

    Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals, similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.

    • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees, and lift your legs off the floor, bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can, and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
    • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

    | Intense East

    Believe it or not, you’re totally working your abs even as you expose your belly to the sky. Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.

    • From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you, place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches, with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you, and open through your throat.
    • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths, then lower your hips to the floor.

    | Eight Crooked Limbs Prep

    The pose called Eight Crooked Limbs really works your upper body, but this prep pose for it is a killer move for your abs.

    • Sit on your bum with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee, and hold your right foot with your left hand. Bring your right arm underneath your right leg, and use your left hand to help push your right knee as high as you can on top of your right tricep.
    • Plant your palms on the floor, and bend your right elbow slightly to keep your knee in place. Press into your palms firmly, engage your abs, and with an inhale, lift your hips off the floor. If it’s easy, lift your left leg off the ground, too. You’re sure to feel a burn in your belly after five breaths.

    | Headstand B

    Work your abs upside down in this Headstand variation.

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinkie in front of the other pinkie, forming a semicircle with your hands.
    • Place the back of your head against your palms, and the top of your head on the mat, so your skull is vertical with the floor. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
    • Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift both legs into the air, coming into Bound Headstand.
    • Stay in Headstand for five breaths, relaxing the jaw as well as the shoulders away from the ears. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, slowly lower both feet toward the mat so they are parallel with the floor. Hold here for another five breaths.
    • Inhale and then exhale to raise the legs back up into Headstand. Repeat four more times.

    Core-Carving Yoga Poses

    Core-Carving Yoga Poses

    It may be months before you’re slipping on a bathing suit again| but that doesn’t give you the green light to forget about your abs. Even under your baggy sweater| it’s still important to maintain a strong| toned core. It will not only prevent back pain| improve your balance and posture| and make running| skiing| and other sports feel easier| but you’ll also feel confident in and out of your clothes. Unroll that yoga mat and do these nine poses that’ll leave you so sore| it’ll hurt to laugh tomorrow.

    | Warrior 3

    Balancing on one leg really challenges your core! If you’re not using your abs to stabilize in this pose| you’ll likely tip over. Here’s how to find your inner warrior.

    • Stand with your feet together. Inhale as you extend your arms out wide in T position or straight overhead for a more advanced variation.
    • Exhale as you bend forward at your hips| lifting your right leg straight behind you coming into Warrior 3. Draw your navel toward your spine| and hold for five breaths. Then come to stand| lower your right leg| and repeat with the left leg lifted for another five.

    | Camel

    A classic backbend that increases spinal flexibility| Camel also works your core muscles and opens tight shoulders.

    • Stand on your shins with your knees hips-width distance apart.
    • Lean back| and place your hands on your heels| arching back and allowing the head to fall between the shoulder blades.
    • Continue to press the hips forward to engage the abs| thighs| and tush| enjoying this pose for five breaths.

    | Dolphin Plank

    Even yogis love elbow planks| but we call them something else. An elbow plank by any other name will still work your abs.

    • From Downward Facing Dog| inhale and shift your weight forward coming into plank position (top of a push-up). Exhale as you lower onto your forearms so that your shoulders are stacked directly above your elbows and your body is parallel with the floor.
    • Dolphin Plank is an intense pose| so if you can’t hold for five breaths| lower one or both knees to the floor.

    | Balancing Star

    This pose is a side plank on crack . . . in a good way. Your obliques will certainly feel the challenge while you balance in this starry pose.

    • Begin in Downward Facing Dog| and step both feet together. Move your right hand to the left about six inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat. Step your right foot forward two inches| and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat| so your toes are pointing away from you. Inhale as you roll open to your right side| and lift your left hand off the mat. Raise your left leg up into the air.
    • Gaze at your lifted hand| and hold Balancing Star for five breaths. Keeping your core engaged will help you stay balanced. Repeat this pose on the other side.

    | Crow

    Arm balances require more than arm strength; they’re really about your core! Thinking of this as an ab exercise can help you hone in on the balance needed to maintain this pose.

    • Begin in a squat| placing your hands shoulder-width distance apart on the mat. Spread your fingers as wide as you can| creating a strong| stable base. Straighten your legs slightly| placing your knees as high up onto your triceps (back of your arms) as possible. Slowly shift weight into your palms and lift your feet off the ground.
    • Stay here for five breaths gazing at the floor in front of you.

    | Boat

    Boat pose is the go-to move for abs in yoga. It really challenges all four layers of your abdominals| similar to the Balance Point in Pilates. Get ready for some smooth sailing.

    • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees| and lift your legs off the floor| bringing your knees in toward your chest with your shins parallel to the floor. Sit up as tall as you can| and take a breath in as you slowly begin to straighten your legs. Your legs don’t need to be straight since the action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
    • Hold Boat pose for five breaths.

    | Intense East

    Believe it or not| you’re totally working your abs even as you expose your belly to the sky. Pulling your low abs up and in while arching your spine makes this pose feel easier.

    • From a seated position with your legs extended straight out in front of you| place your hands behind your hips about six to eight inches| with your fingers pointing toward your toes. As you inhale| press into your hands and feet firmly| lifting your hips into the air. Lift them as high as you can so your spine is in a long line. Slowly release your head back| looking behind you| and open through your throat.
    • Stay here in Intense East pose for five deep breaths| then lower your hips to the floor.

    | Eight Crooked Limbs Prep

    The pose called Eight Crooked Limbs really works your upper body| but this prep pose for it is a killer move for your abs.

    • Sit on your bum with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee| and hold your right foot with your left hand. Bring your right arm underneath your right leg| and use your left hand to help push your right knee as high as you can on top of your right tricep.
    • Plant your palms on the floor| and bend your right elbow slightly to keep your knee in place. Press into your palms firmly| engage your abs| and with an inhale| lift your hips off the floor. If it’s easy| lift your left leg off the ground| too. You’re sure to feel a burn in your belly after five breaths.

    | Headstand B

    Work your abs upside down in this Headstand variation.

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Lower your elbows to the floor and interlace your fingers| bringing your lowest pinkie in front of the other pinkie| forming a semicircle with your hands.
    • Place the back of your head against your palms| and the top of your head on the mat| so your skull is vertical with the floor. Once your head and forearms feel stable| straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
    • Shift your hips over your shoulders| and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift both legs into the air| coming into Bound Headstand.
    • Stay in Headstand for five breaths| relaxing the jaw as well as the shoulders away from the ears. Take a breath in| and as you exhale| slowly lower both feet toward the mat so they are parallel with the floor. Hold here for another five breaths.
    • Inhale and then exhale to raise the legs back up into Headstand. Repeat four more times.

    6 Ways to Make Your Planks Even More Effective

    6 Ways to Make Your Planks Even More Effective

    Planks are one of the most effective exercises because they fire up so many muscles at once, especially the core and upper body. You can make them even harder u2014 you know you want to! u2014 by adding a pair of dumbbells. Grab a pair of three- to 10-pounders and throw these moves into your next routine. Since plank position can be tough on the wrists, alternate these plank variations with moves that give your hands a break, such as squats or lunges.

    Related: 2-Week Plank Challenge

    | Plank and Rotate

    Twisting in a plank position fires up the core and works those love handles.

    • Begin in a plank position holding a dumbbell in each hand, keeping your wrists stiff to protect the joints. Open your feet a little wider than hip distance.
    • Lift your left hand to the ceiling, twisting through your entire torso. Your pelvis will rotate, but keep it level.
    • Bring your left hand back to the floor, and repeat this action on the other side to complete one rep.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps to complete a set.

    | Plank With Row

    Work your arms and abs while improving your posture with this simple move.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in your right hand.
    • Keep your torso stable as you pull your elbow toward the ceiling, squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine.
    • Lower the weight to the floor with control to complete one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.

    Related: Printable 20-Minute Plank Workout For the Flat Abs You’ve Always Wanted

    | Plank Row and Rotate

    This plank row variation adds a twist.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in your right hand.
    • Keep your torso stable as you pull your elbow toward the ceiling, squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine.
    • Rotate the torso and raise the right arm into the air.
    • Lower the weight to the floor with control to complete one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides.

    | Plank With Triceps Kickback

    Another move that tones your arms, butt, and core is this triceps kickback variation.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in each hand. Bend your left elbow and pull it up so it’s in line with your shoulder.
    • Pull your navel toward your spine to engage your abs, which will help you stay balanced.
    • Exhale as you do a triceps kickback by extending your left hand behind you. Inhale to bend your elbow. This counts as one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps on each side.

    | Side Plank With Reverse Fly

    Side planks tone the muffin top, and adding the reverse fly into the mix not only challenges the abs a bit more but also tones the back of the shoulder. Squeeze your inner thighs together for added stability.

    • Start in a side plank on your left side, holding your weight in your right hand with your right arm parallel to the floor.
    • Exhale and pull your abs toward your spine to stabilize your torso as you raise your right arm to the ceiling. Do not let your hand travel behind your shoulder. Lower the weight back to starting position to complete one rep.
    • If you feel unstable in this position, split your legs, bringing your right leg forward to steady yourself.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps before switching sides.

    | Plank and Straight-Arm Kickback

    Work your arms and abs together with this plank variation.

    • Start in a plank position holding a dumbbell in each hand. Open your feet wider than hip width for a stronger base of support.
    • Lift your left arm behind you as high as you can. Bring the left arm back into plank to complete one rep.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps with each arm.

    6 Ways to Make Your Planks Even More Effective

    6 Ways to Make Your Planks Even More Effective

    Planks are one of the most effective exercises because they fire up so many muscles at once| especially the core and upper body. You can make them even harder u2014 you know you want to! u2014 by adding a pair of dumbbells. Grab a pair of three- to 10-pounders and throw these moves into your next routine. Since plank position can be tough on the wrists| alternate these plank variations with moves that give your hands a break| such as squats or lunges.

    Related: 2-Week Plank Challenge

    | Plank and Rotate

    Twisting in a plank position fires up the core and works those love handles.

    • Begin in a plank position holding a dumbbell in each hand| keeping your wrists stiff to protect the joints. Open your feet a little wider than hip distance.
    • Lift your left hand to the ceiling| twisting through your entire torso. Your pelvis will rotate| but keep it level.
    • Bring your left hand back to the floor| and repeat this action on the other side to complete one rep.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps to complete a set.

    | Plank With Row

    Work your arms and abs while improving your posture with this simple move.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in your right hand.
    • Keep your torso stable as you pull your elbow toward the ceiling| squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine.
    • Lower the weight to the floor with control to complete one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps| then switch sides.

    Related: Printable 20-Minute Plank Workout For the Flat Abs You’ve Always Wanted

    | Plank Row and Rotate

    This plank row variation adds a twist.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in your right hand.
    • Keep your torso stable as you pull your elbow toward the ceiling| squeezing your right shoulder blade toward your spine.
    • Rotate the torso and raise the right arm into the air.
    • Lower the weight to the floor with control to complete one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps| then switch sides.

    | Plank With Triceps Kickback

    Another move that tones your arms| butt| and core is this triceps kickback variation.

    • Start in a plank position holding a weight in each hand. Bend your left elbow and pull it up so it’s in line with your shoulder.
    • Pull your navel toward your spine to engage your abs| which will help you stay balanced.
    • Exhale as you do a triceps kickback by extending your left hand behind you. Inhale to bend your elbow. This counts as one rep.
    • Complete 10 to 15 reps on each side.

    | Side Plank With Reverse Fly

    Side planks tone the muffin top| and adding the reverse fly into the mix not only challenges the abs a bit more but also tones the back of the shoulder. Squeeze your inner thighs together for added stability.

    • Start in a side plank on your left side| holding your weight in your right hand with your right arm parallel to the floor.
    • Exhale and pull your abs toward your spine to stabilize your torso as you raise your right arm to the ceiling. Do not let your hand travel behind your shoulder. Lower the weight back to starting position to complete one rep.
    • If you feel unstable in this position| split your legs| bringing your right leg forward to steady yourself.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps before switching sides.

    | Plank and Straight-Arm Kickback

    Work your arms and abs together with this plank variation.

    • Start in a plank position holding a dumbbell in each hand. Open your feet wider than hip width for a stronger base of support.
    • Lift your left arm behind you as high as you can. Bring the left arm back into plank to complete one rep.
    • Do 10 to 15 reps with each arm.

    5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

    5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

    Even though you’re staying warm in bulky| oversize sweaters and bikinis are pushed to the back of the closet| you shouldn’t skimp on core-strengthening exercises. That’s right u2014 now’s the perfect time to get a sweater-ready six-pack with these five tummy-toning moves. Aside from helping you attain fantastic abs| these exercises will help with strength| balance| and posture| too.

    u2014 Additional reporting by Emily Bibb

    Related: The Look-Good-in-Your-Leggings Workout

    | Pilates Hip-Ups

    With control| this dynamic exercise will strengthen your low abs in no time. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire move!

    • Start lying on your back with your hands by your sides.
    • With your core engaged| lift your feet off the ground| and cross your ankles.
    • Lift your lower back off the mat| and rock up toward the ceiling.
    • With control| lower your back (not your legs) to the mat.
    • Repeat this motion for 20 reps.

    | Seated Russian Twist

    While this seated Russian twist mainly targets your obliques| your back muscles will be engaged to strengthen and support your spine u2014 extra points!

    • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt.
    • Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. It is really important| and difficult| to keep your back straight| but don’t let it curve.
    • Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Your hands should be level with the bottom of your rib cage.
    • Pull your navel to your spine| and twist slowly to the left. The movement is not large and comes from the ribs rotating| not from your arms swinging. Inhale through center| and rotate to the right. This completes one rep.
    • Do 16 full rotations.

    | Standing Side Bend

    The standing side bend works your obliques| and celeb trainer Skip the Crunches| and Try These 25 Ab-Sculpting Moves

    | Scissor Abs

    Forget run-of-the-mill crunches: scissor abs will work your legs| back| and abs. Over time and with stretching| you might be able to do a full split crunch!

    • Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they’re against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor. Pull your navel in toward your spine| and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
    • Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling| continuing to engage your abs. Keeping your core strong| slowly lower your right leg until it is a few inches above the floor. Then slowly scissor your legs| lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the floor.
    • You may not feel this until you do it for a while| so repeat the move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg.

    | Boat Pose

    You might not think that balancing in Boat Pose would tone your abs| but it’s one of the most effective yoga poses for your core. Follow the steps below| but be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

    • Begin sitting on your mat. Lift your knees up to your chest| balancing on your sit bones.
    • Keep your spine long| pulling your knees into your chest with your chest lifted.
    • With your shins parallel to the ground (as shown)| draw your navel toward your spine| and work on slowly straightening your legs upward. If your back starts to hunch| then bring your shins back down. The action of keeping your spine long and drawing your belly in is what works your abs here.
    • Hold for five complete breaths. Rest| and repeat three times.

    The RKC Plank Is the Best Excercise You Never Knew About

    Planking is known as one of the best exercises for your core| but did you know there’s an even better variation you should be trying? Our friends over at Details share the best-kept secret to planking.

    How long can you hold a plank? Three minutes? Five? (The current record is five hours| 15 minutes| and 15 seconds| by the way.)

    Whatever your number| you probably shouldn’t brag about it too much. While planks are awesome for building core strength and stability| if you do them right| you shouldn’t need to hang out in them for minutes or hours on end| says Boston-based strength coach Tony Gentilcore| C.S.C.S. Another way to put it: If you are able to hold one for that long| you’re probably using pretty bad form.

    The solution: the RKC plank. It starts off like your everyday version| but you crank up the intensity by maximizing the amount of tension in your body| making your core muscles including your stabilizers work up to four times more than in the traditional plank| says Kourtney A. Thomas| C.S.C.S.| owner of Lagniappe Fitness in St. Louis. A mere 10 seconds in the RKC plank is enough to make even the most solid six-packs shake| says Gentilcore. Here’s how to do it:

    Hold It Real Good: The RCK Plank

      Get into a traditional forearm plank position| shoulders directly above your elbows| feet together| face pointing toward the floor. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.Clench your hands into fists| pull your shoulder blades apart| and push your forearms into the floor as if you’re trying to drag your elbows toward your toes.Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings so that your tailbone tilts down| your lower back flattens| and you can feel your butt and legs working. Keep your knees locked.Hold| focusing on maintaining the maximum tension possible throughout your body.

    More great stories from Details:

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