Summer is just around the corner, but you might not feel quite as prepared to expose what’s underneath winter’s safe and forgiving layers. Skip the boring sit-ups and crunches, and get those abs back into shape with some of our favorite exercises that will have you ready to flaunt that midsection in no time!


Russian twists


Begin by sitting with your knees bent, your feet hovering above the floor, and your back at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Keeping your hands together, hold them straight out in front of you and then begin swinging them from left to right. This will create a twisting motion in the abdomen that works and strengthens the upper torso. To make the move a bit harder, you can perform the move while holding an exercise ball to add some extra weight in the rotation. If the move is too difficult, you can keep your feet planted on the ground while twisting.



Demonstration of starfish crunch


Create a giant “X” on the floor by lying on flat on your back with your arms and legs spread out. Next, slowly lift your left leg up towards the center of your body while reaching up with the right hand towards the left toe. Lower the left leg and right arm back to their starting positions before performing the movement again on the other side.




Demonstration of leg circles


Lie flat on the floor with your arms at your side and your legs in a straight line. Holding your legs together, slowly lift them so they form a 45 degree angle with the floor. Begin rotating your legs in a circular motion to the right, as if you are drawing a large circle with your legs. Perform the motion for 30 seconds before switching directions. Complete another 30 seconds, this time with your legs circling to the left. If the exercise is too difficult, try placing your hands below your lower waist and slightly bending your knees, while keeping your lower abdominal muscles engaged.



Demonstration of Mountain Climbers


First, get into a plank position with your hands and toes planted firmly on the floor at shoulder and hip width apart. This puts your body into a straight line from your head to your heels. Pull your left knee in towards your body and then return it to its starting position. Do the same with your right knee. Keeping your shoulders above your wrists and making sure not to raise your hips, continue performing the exercise at a swift pace, alternating between tucking the left and right knees in towards your core.





Demonstration of Heel Touches


Start with your back on the floor, your knees bent, and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Lift your shoulders so that they are hovering just slightly off of the floor. With your hands held straight out beside you towards your feet, reach your right hand down towards your right heel. Gently swing back to the center and then reach your left hand towards your left heel. Engaging your obliques, continue performing the movement, alternating between reaching your right and left hands towards their respective heels.


What are some of your go-to workouts for keeping your core strong and toned? Share them with us below or tweet me @tamarahoumi