When you want to sculpt lean, sexy abs, doing crunches is highly overrated. Why? On-your-back moves target just one part of your midsection and leave out the deep-lying muscles that cinch in your waist. This upright abdominal workout, created by Bernardo Coppola, a celebrity personal trainer in L.A., engages all the muscles you need for a bikini-worthy middle—minus the neck strain. You'll be strengthening your entire core, the dozens of muscles that make up your hips, pelvis, lower back, and abs. And this will improve your posture and ensure you perform everyday tasks, such as lugging heavy grocery bags or running to catch a bus, more efficiently. Complete three or four sets of each exercise as instructed, resting for 30 seconds between sets, two or three times a week.
Four Upright Exercises
1. Dumbbell Side Bend
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, arms straight and core engaged (a). Without twisting your upper body, slowly bend to the left as far as you can, lowering the weight toward your left knee. (b). Pause, then slowly return to an upright position. Repeat, bending to the right side. That's one rep. Do 10. 2. Standing Core Stabilization
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, use both hands to hold a dumbbell straight out in front of your chest, core engaged (a). Moving your torso slightly, slowly rotate your arms to the left as far as you can (b). Pause, then rotate to the right. That's one rep. Continue for a total of 10 reps.
3. Bow Extension
Hold a dumbbell in both hands above your right shoulder and point your left foot out to the side (a). In one motion, draw your elbows down to lower the weight as you bend your left knee toward your chest (b). Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Do 10, then switch sides and repeat.
4. Reverse Dumbbell Chop
Bend your knees, rotate your torso, and hold a dumbbell in both hands outside your left thigh (a). Keeping your arms straight, swing the weight above your right shoulder as you straighten your legs (b). Reverse the movement to return to start. That's one rep. Do 10, then switch sides and repeat.
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