Standing core workout

Did you know today is national running day? Are you celebrating? No running for this girl… I’m still a little bit sore from the race and going to give my legs a break. I’ll probably power walk in Orangetheory tomorrow and get back on the running train this weekend. If you missed it, check out my race recap from the Suja Rock ’n Roll half. I listed some things in my post that that helped me to PR, but forgot a huge one: the importance of core strength. I had been slacking majorly on core exercises, but since we’ve been here, I’ve been forced to consistently work out my core through barre trainings, BODYPUMP and Orangetheory. I could definitely feel a difference!

While core strength is critical for fitness gains and performance, it’s also a huge component of posture, balance and spinal health. With a strong core, we can stand up a little taller and protect our back in everyday movements. I’ve become a huge fan of standing core work because it engages the stabilizer muscles. Plus, you’re standing (burning more calories) and can really focus on engaging the core since you’re not on your back. I feel the movements differently when I’m standing and it’s easier to determine which muscles I’m working.

Here’s a little standing core workout I put together. It’s intended to be completed circuit-style, moving quickly from one exercise to the next. If you’d like, you can hold a dumbbell or flat weight for many of the exercises to make it even more challenging. (Tip: don’t go too heavy. You want extra resistance, but not to the point where you could injure your back through compensating. It’s more beneficial to complete the exercises correctly and safely sans additional weight than to add resistance and sacrifice proper form.)

Here’s the workout if you’d like to give it a try!

Standing core workout

Some form cues:

Squat: an easily forgotten core exercise! Keep your stomach pulled in tightly, and be sure to sit your hips down and back.

Hover reach and knee tuck: you can either stand on one leg, or lightly tap it next to you. Contract your oblique to bend your knee and bring it up before carefully lowering it to hover or lightly touch the floor again.

Squat jumps: keep a tight core and exhale on the way up. If you’d like to keep it low impact, squat and reach towards the ceiling as you come up, and (optional) raise up onto your toes. 

Side bends: this is a small movement. Keep your hips stable as you slightly lean from left to right, slowly and with control.

Lunge and kick: perform a regular lunge, and then exhale to bring the back leg up into a kick with a nice flexed foot. Use your core to lift your leg and lower back to a lunge position.

Circle abs: this is another controlled, slow movement. Think about using all of the muscles in your core as you rotate. The circle can be as small or large as you’d like it to be!

Good mornings: make sure to keep your shoulders down and back and a nice neutral spine for this movement. Also, keep your hips in place and avoid swinging them. Hold a flat weight for extra challenge.

This workout would pair nicely with last week’s HIIT scorcher 🙂

Have a happy Wednesday! What’s on the workout plan for today?



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  1. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 4, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for the great core workout recommendations! I plan on doing some squats at my desk today and hopefully going out for a quick jog after work if the weather isn’t too bad. I’m not enjoying Midwestern storm season.

  2. Ali G on June 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Love this! And your timing is incredible. I have chronic forearm tendonitis and tendonitis in my left thumb so I can very rarely do planks, even on my forearms is iffy. I’ve been searching for a core routine that isn’t crunches and bicycles; those get old after a while. And so many routines involve lots of planks.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  3. Catherine on June 4, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I did a barre workout this morning – legs, arms and abs were begging for mercy by the end of it

  4. Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat on June 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I am so bad about core work – but like you said it is so important. Luckily with body pump and a couple other classes it is built in so I have no choice 🙂

    Mile repeats for me today. I have an odd love for them!

  5. Jennifer on June 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Great post, thank you! On tap for this evening is Pure Barre workout. Been running more lately and need the stretchinggggg. Have a great day

  6. Maggie on June 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I love this! Core is easily my weakest point so it’d be good to incorporate more moves into the routine. Would love if you could post a “core moves for beginners” with tips about frequency, etc. Sometimes I feel like the plank is too advanced for me :-/

  7. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on June 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    My core is definitely one spot I tend to neglect. I like that this core work isn’t your basic crunch moves – this is great! Plus getting in the bonus of additional body parts!

  8. Chelsea @ TableForOne on June 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Core work is so vital to our physical activity. I am so glad that you posted this as I have been a bit of a slacker as well. Maybe after my trail run later this evening I will bust some of these moves out!

  9. Cassie on June 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I got in a 3 mile walk, lots of abs via tone it up, and am still hoping to get in an hour of yoga! Happy Wednesday!

  10. Jackie on June 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Yay I love new ab workouts!

  11. GillyBear on June 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Gonna get my flow on 😉 Thanks for the different core workout, was lookin for something that would build all my core muscles instead of focusing on abs.

  12. Katie @ running4cupcakes on June 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Lunge with front kick is such a great move for both core and hips!! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  13. Tracy on June 4, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I’m planning to do this core workout with the HIIT scorcher tomorrow! I did the HIIT scorcher last week and loved it 🙂

    Happy hump day!

  14. Ali on June 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    This is great! I have a back issue and can’t do flexion so this is so perfect!

  15. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I always do my core workouts with a stability ball. I’ve never seen some of these standing ones. I’m so glad you posted this. It’s time to mix up my routine!

  16. Polly @ Tasty Food Project on June 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing these core workouts! I like any core workouts that don’t involve crunches since it makes my neck hurt. (I’m probably doing it wrong but I already have existing neck pain.) I’m going to pin this and try it later!

  17. Dominique @ Eat, Pray, Lift on June 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I got in some good bodyweight resistance circuits this morning – pushups, core work (if only I’d seen this before!), chinups, and lots of lunge variations. Got me nice and sweaty!

  18. Hilary on June 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I love standing core workouts 🙂 Thanks so much for putting this together for all us readers! Can’t wait to give it a shot, tomorrow sounds like it would fit in with my run perfectly!

  19. Livi on June 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I love this! A core workout without getting on the ground!

  20. Olivia on June 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Great ab burner Gina!!! I will do this after my weights today!

  21. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on June 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    thanks for sharing this babe

  22. Julie on June 4, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I love standing abs because my back hurts from doing them on the floor!

  23. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on June 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Love lunge with front kick! I’ve never done a full core workout without getting on the ground.

  24. Kimberly on June 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I was just searching for core workout ideas this morning – thanks for sharing these! I will definitely be trying this workout!

  25. Sarahf on June 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Great timing! I’m thinking about doing a half marathon in November, but I definitely need to get stronger before I even think about training. Core work is definitely something I leave for the end of my workout and then “forget” when the bath starts beckoning…

  26. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on June 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I’m super sore too from a particularly insane Body Pump workout but did a suuuuuuper short run just because I didn’t want to miss the day. Thanks for the workout!

  27. erin on June 5, 2014 at 6:46 am

    good workout!

  28. Jordan @ Harleys and Heels on June 5, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Great core workout. I love new challenges. I will do this one today for sure! I saved the image and am sharing it with an accountability group I am a part of as well. 🙂

  29. char eats greens on June 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Looks great, Gina! I just bookmarked it to dooooo!

  30. Pua on June 6, 2014 at 3:04 am

    This is great! Pinning for later.

  31. Greg Marlow on May 28, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Here’s an ab exercises I came up with and found very effective. Basically it’s a push up against a sit up while standing. I start by pressing my hands against my thighs while standing straight. Then I slide my hands down my thighs to the knees while maintaining pressure against the thighs. The exercise is better than the plank because it gives a little curl to the abs. It’s better than the sit up because it doesn’t injure the spine.

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