Forget the plank – this three-move standing ab workout strengthens your core and improves posture

If you find the exercise hard, or want to shake up your routine, then workout is for you

A woman doing american kettlebell swings
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We’re not here to slate planks by the way– planks are one of the best core exercises out there – but doing them on repeat can get a bit monotonous. Plus, they’re not the easiest exercise for everybody. So, if you need to switch things up a bit, then this standing workout will do just that and all you need is either a single dumbbell or a kettlebell

Unlike the plank, standing core exercises are a lot more accessible. They're often compound exercises, so you’ll be strengthening a variety of muscles at the same time, essentially, killing two birds with one stone. Unlike a lot of floor core exercises, standing ones are a lot more dynamic, working your muscles through a greater range of motion, which challenges your balance and stability, whilst improving posture.  

We always recommend wearing a pair of workout shoes to help with your stability, but even moreso because this workout uses weights and if you drop one...well, it won't be pretty. You've got three exercises in total although, we’ll make a confession, we swapped out the second exercise (which was originally side bends) as we don’t rate that exercise and replaced it with a much better alternative for your obliques and overall core. Try move from one exercise to the next. Once you've completed one round, rest 60-120 seconds and repeat three more times. Ready? Here’s your workout: 

  • Dumbbell overhead marches – 10 reps (each side)
  • Dumbbell suitcase carry – 30 seconds (each side)
  • Dumbbell halos – 10 reps 

Now, we bet that was way more enjoyable than your regular ab routine. Fancy some more core workouts with zero sit-ups, crunches or planks? Here's another speedy standing workout that only consists of four dumbbell exercises. Alternatively, if you've got more time on your hands, give this six-move workout a go instead. It includes a mixture of standing and floor exercises that'll leave your mid-section on fire (FYI, still no crunches or planks).

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.