When you think about core exercises, you think about planks and sit ups and crunches. But some of the best core exercises don’t even require you to get down on the ground.
These standing core exercises are great moves to include if you are looking for compound exercises that will work more muscle groups at once as you strengthen your core. They are perfect as well if you are working out outside or in a hotel room and don’t want to have to get down on the ground!
Try these 5 Standing Core Exercises and work your entire core from different angles without having to get down on the ground. You can even include these moves in a cardio workout to really get your blood pumping!
1. Lunge with Twisting Knee Crunch
The Lunge with Twisting Knee Crunch is a great way to strengthen your legs and glutes while also working your obliques. It is a compound exercise, which also means it will help you burn more calories and work more muscles at once for a more efficient workout!
To do the Lunge with Twisting Knee Crunch, start by standing with your feet together. Then, keeping your chest up, lunge back on one side, dropping your back knee down toward the ground as you bend your front knee toward 90 degrees. Sit back and make sure your front heel stays down.
Then, driving through your front heel, come back up to standing. As you stand up, drive your back knee up and forward. Twist your upper body toward your raised knee and feel your abs and glutes working to help you twist and stay balanced. Really engage the glute of the standing leg. You can keep your hands up as you lunge and twist to help you really make sure you use your abs to twist.
Lunge back on the same side and repeat. Try not to touch your foot down until you lunge back.
2. Standing Knees
Standing Knees are basically mimicking a standing crunch and a great way to really target your abs as you get your blood pumping. They are a perfect move to include in a cardio workout. And you’ll also really feel the glute of your standing leg working to keep you balanced!
To do Standing Knees, start standing and reach your hands out and overhead as you slightly lunge one foot back. Bend your standing leg and sit your butt back slightly as you sink a little into the lunge. Make sure you are on the ball of your back foot.
Then driving through your standing heel, come up to standing, squeezing your glute as you tuck your elbows and knee together. Really crunch your upper body and knee together.
After crunching, quickly reach back overhead as you straighten your leg back out into the lunge. Touch the foot down and quickly repeat the knee tuck and crunch. Move quickly while staying balanced.
3. Skater Hop with Reach
The Skater Hop with Reach is a great cardio exercise that will work your glutes and abs, especially your obliques. It will also work on your balance as you stabilize after jumping side to side.
To do the Skater Hop with Reach, set up with enough room to jump side to side. Start standing to one side of the space you have to use and stand on your outside foot. Sink down into a little squat, pushing your butt back. As you sink down, reach your opposite arm down to touch the ground near your standing foot.
If you have to really round to touch the ground, only reach as low as you can while sinking your butt down into the squat.
Explode up and off your standing leg to jump laterally and land on your other foot. Swing your arms across your body to help you jump further to the side. Jump as far as you can to the side while still being able to balance when you land.
As you land, sink into a little squat, and load your glute to help you jump back across. Again, reach the opposite hand down to touch the ground by your foot. Do not simply round over to touch the ground.
Then jump back to the starting position. Jump as far as you can each time and really try to move as quickly as possible.
4. Squat to Oblique Knee Crunch
The Squat to Oblique Knee Crunch is a great way to work your legs and target those obliques. This move, while not super fast, will also really get your heart beating and blood pumping because it works a lot of muscles at once!
To do the Squat to Oblique Knee Crunch, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and place your hands up by your head with your elbows out. Squat down and sit your butt back, keeping your hands up. Do not round forward or let your heels come up. Sink as low as you can before driving through your heels to come back up to standing.
As you stand up, drive one knee up and out to the side and crunch your elbow down to meet your knee. Feel your obliques work to lift and crunch your knee and elbow together. Then lower your foot back down and come back up to standing before repeating the squat and crunch to the other side. Keep alternating sides, squatting down as low as you can between each oblique knee crunch.
5. The 2-Way March
While this move seems simple, it is a killer standing ab exercise. It will work everything from your shoulders to your knees, including your glutes. And if you happen to have a weight, you can make it even more challenging by holding a weight in both of your hands as you perform the move.
To do the 2-Way March, you will need to do a bent knee march and then a straight leg march on the same side, alternating between the two as you crunch your upper body over to meet your leg. Start standing tall and reach your hands overhead. Then, crunch over, bending your elbows as you tuck one knee up and in. Try to crunch your elbows and knee all the way together.
Then stand back up, reaching your hands back overhead as you touch your foot down. Staying on the same side, this time lift your leg straight up in front of you as you bring your arms straight down to try to touch your leg. Keep your arms and leg straight as you march and crunch.
Extend back overhead and repeat the bent knee march before performing the straight leg march again on that same side.
For even more core exercises you can do without getting down on the ground, try these 20 Standing Core Moves!
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.