"I want abs." At some point in your life, you've probably thought this, and in some cases, it stemmed from society showing you that that's what you're supposed to want. But if you ask yourself why you want abs, what reasons do you come up with? Is it because you want to *look* good? Hopefully by now, you know that working out isn't about looking good, it's about feeling good.
Your abs, which is part of your core, plays an important role in everything you do—even everyday tasks you might not be aware of like getting out of bed. It's the entire support system of your body. It even includes your pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapist Meredith McHale told SHAPE.com, "A strong core helps keep a more upright and erect posture whether you're being active or just sitting at your desk." It stabilizes your body so you can bend and move in any direction. All that to say, you can want abs and work hard to get them while also seeing the bigger (more important) picture of why it's important to strengthen those muscles.
If you're thinking about adding more ab and core workouts to your routine, here are some you can do while standing up (you know, just to spice things up in your home gym).
Stand with your feet together as your starting position, with your knees slightly bent. Place your hands behind your head. With your core engaged, lift your left knee up to meet your right elbow until they touch; if they don't, that's okay, too. Rotate back into starting position. Do this 20 times on one side before switching.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Using both your hands, hold a dumbbell in front of you with your arms stretched out. In a controlled movement, rotate your arms to the right then move back to center. Rotate to the opposite side and move back to center. Keep doing this until you count to 20.
Start in a split stance, with one leg in front of the other and your knees slightly bent. Again, place your hands behind your bed. Keep your core tight and then hinge forward with your spine straight. One rep is when your chest is parallel to the floor. As you life your back up, rotate to the left and try to look back. That's one rep. Repeat 20 times then switch.
Standing Oblique Crunch
Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your hands behind your head, with your elbows wide. Instead of rotating, lift your right leg towards your right elbow, bending your torso for the two to meet. Do 15 reps on this side then switch.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball with both hands at chest height. Move the ball past your right foot, allowing your knees to bend and your feet to pivot slightly. Then lift the ball across your torso and upwards to the left. This is when you'll really feel your core tighten (if you're executing this exercise properly). Eventually, pick up the speed to make this move more challenging. Complete 15 reps then switch to the other side. It's also an option to do this without any equipment.
Crossover Toe Touch
Begin with your feet wider than hip-width. Your arms should be extended to your side, in a T shape. Making sure your core is engaged, rotate your torso to the left. Bend and tap your left foot with your right hand. Do the same on the opposite side. Repeat this movement for one minute.
This move will work your entre body. Stand on your left foot. Lift your right knee at 90 degrees in front of your body. Move your torso forward while maintaining your balance. As you're doing this, extend your right leg behind you. While your torso is parallel to the floor, your left leg should be bent slightly. Extend both arms overhead; this will help keep your balance as you execute this movie. Hold this position for one breath then reverse the movement, returning to center. That's one rep. Do this 10 to 15 times, and make sure your core is engaged the entire time.
Follow Ysa on Instagram.