Forget crunches – sculpt a stronger core with this 6-move standing ab workout

It'll only take you 15 minutes

A woman standing in her sports bra and leggings with a very toned looking tummy
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Crunches are a great way to work your abdominal muscles, but if you just can’t get on board with them – because, let’s be honest, they’re not the easiest exercise or that fun – there are other ways you can strengthen your mid-section muscles. Instead, try this six-move workout to build a stronger core, without a crunch, situp, or plank in sight.  

Whereas crunches target your abdominal muscles (which form part of your core) this standing ab workout will work your deep core muscles, the ones that attach to your spine or pelvis. According to Peloton: "When you’re working the core from a standing position, you have to move against gravity and keep your balance. This requires greater muscle activation to remain stable."

For this workout you'll only need a single dumbbell but if you don't have one, you could use a kettlebell or a heavy water bottle. Complete 10 reps of each exercise below (on each side where applicable), resting for 30 seconds between each exercise. Once you've completed an entire round, rest for a minute, then repeat the workout two more times. Here's your exercises:

  • Standing toe touches
  • Dumbbell woodchops (10 reps each side)
  • Alternating forward lunges with a twist
  • Dumbbell around the world
  • Single-arm dumbbell march (10 reps each side)

Try and consistently include two to three core workouts into your training a week and you'll begin to notice the benefits, such as better posture, less back pain, improved balance and stability. Want more workouts like this one? Try this three-move standing core workout next or give this three-move floor ab workout a go – don't worry, there's still not a crunch, situp, or plank in sight!

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.