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The Power Abs Workout

Firm your deep ab muscles to shrink your waist, improve your posture, and gain more confidence. Do this circuit workout twice, three days a week, for a stronger core.

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Alex Palombo
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Absolute Power

Flat abs and killer confidence have one thing in common: a hard core. That's because the muscles that make up your middle dictate not only how you rock a sports bra but also whether you stand tall and pack a punch in kickboxing class. "Firming the deep ab muscles is the fastest way to shrink your waist and improve your posture," says Alexandra White, a co-owner of Jumping Frog Pilates in Tenafly, New Jersey, who supplied the six turbo toners on the next page. Grab a yoga mat and do the circuit twice, three days a week on alternating days. Then flash that superfly center!

Watch the workout video

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Clamp

Targets back, abs, obliques, inner thighs, and outer thighs

  • Lie faceup on floor with arms and legs extended upward; lift head, neck, and shoulders off floor.
  • Simultaneously lower arms out to sides and open legs 45 degrees, keeping shoulders and chest lifted throughout.
  • Return to start, squeezing palms together and legs together.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps.

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Wiper Plank

Targets back, abs, obliques, butt, and legs

  • Start on floor in plank position, balancing on forearms and toes, elbows directly under shoulders. Clasp hands together.
  • Lift right leg behind you as high as you can, then lower it without touching toes to floor and bring it out to right side.
  • Return right leg to center, then repeat without touching toes to floor.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch legs and repeat.

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Sprinkler

Targets back, abs, and obliques

  • Sit on floor with legs extended, thighs together and feet flexed; tilt torso back 45 degrees and extend arms out to sides, palms facing forward.
  • Rotate torso to right, sweeping left arm across body to tap left palm to right palm.
  • Return to start, then repeat to left to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps.

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Twister

Targets shoulders, back, abs, obliques, and hamstrings

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent out to sides and hands touching behind head; keeping back flat, hinge forward from hips so that upper body is parallel to floor.
  • Rotate torso to face right. Pause, return to center, pause again, then rotate to left to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps.

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Skinny Dip

Targets back, abs, obliques, and butt

  • Lie on floor on left side, propped up on left forearm, knees bent 90 degrees and toes pointed behind you; extend right arm overhead.
  • Lift hips off floor, then raise bent right leg a few feet. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep knees together.
  • Keeping right leg lifted, dip hip to floor.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

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Jackknife

Targets shoulders, back, abs, obliques, and legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended overhead; lift right leg about a foot off floor, toes pointed.
  • Hinge forward from hips and reach hands to toes.
  • Keeping right foot lifted and back flat throughout, straighten up to standing start position as you lift arms overhead, then place right foot on floor.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps, alternating sides.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2012.

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