Lie on your right side, with your right leg bent behind you and your left leg extended. Flex your left foot. Prop your torso up on your right elbow, making sure that your elbow is aligned beneath your shoulder. Place your left hand on your hip.
Press up with your right hip so your body forms a straight line from your right shoulder to your right knee. Keep abs engaged to maintain your balance. Hold for a count of two. Return to start, and repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.
Lie on your back on the floor, with your left knee bent and foot flat. Extend your arms out on either side of you at shoulder level, to form a T. Lift your right leg so it is parallel to your left thigh. Keeping your right leg extended, flex your right foot.
Contract your abs and press your lower back into the floor as you slowly lower your right leg as far as you can, without arching your lower back off the floor. Repeat 10 times; switch sides and repeat.
Trainer TipKeep the foot of your moving leg flexed; this actually engages the abdominal muscles.
Works your core, especially your transverse abdominal muscle
With your shins on a fitness ball, assume the plank position: Rest your weight equally on your shins and hands, with your arms straight, your hands shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Tuck your hips under so that you don’t arch your back.
Pressing your right leg into the ball, lift and extend your left leg off the ball, to your left. Hold for five seconds; return to starting position. Repeat with the right leg. Work up to 10 extensions to each side, total.
Trainer TipTucking hips under, in a pelvic tilt, will keep your abs engaged and working throughout this move.
Keeping your hips in a neutral position, push the ball forward, trying to keep your shoulders, hips, and knees in line. Stop pushing forward when you feel you can’t maintain the bridge; hold for five seconds.Contract your abs to roll the ball back to the starting position. Repeat 15 times.
Lie on your back, with your hands under your tailbone to keep your lower back in contact with the floor.Raise both legs as close to 90 degrees as you can, and flex your feet. Curl your head and shoulders off the floor.
Works your entire core, especially obliques
Start in the plank position: Rest your weight on your hands and feet, with your arms straight, your hands shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Tuck your hips under to stabilize your lower back.
Holding the plank, bring your right knee as close as you can toward your chest; rotate your right hip to bring your knee across your body. Return to starting plank position. Repeat on the left side. Do 10 to 16 reps to each side, total.
ModificationIf the version above is too challenging, bring your knee to your chest without the rotation.
Keeping your shoulders and your lower back in contact with the floor, press your calves down on the ball as you slowly twist to the right, lowering knees as far as you can toward the floor. Then, using your abs, twist your knees back to the center, and repeat to the left. Repeat to each side, 15 times total.
Trainer TipYou’ll flatten your abs faster if you keep them contracted (pull your navel close to your spine). Don’t relax, even between reps.
Originally published inMOREmagazine, July/August 2007.