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New 5-Day Functional Strength & Mobility Challenge with Kayla, Doctor of Physical Therapy

At Home Abs Workout - Fun Core Exercises for Toning and Functional Strength

14 Min • Core
  • View on YouTube
    • Training Type Low Impact, Toning
    • Equipment No Equipment
    • Membership Free


    With this core workout, I wanted to utilize standing abs exercises and functional ranges of motion beyond the basic crunch. The wide variety of movement in this workout provides a challenge throughout the whole core: abs, obliques, and lower back. 

    Instead of doing hundreds of variations of crunches, we’ll spend the majority of the routine up off of the floor, with standing abs exercises. These use a combination of strong movements and balance, which calls upon the core muscles in a unique and highly functional way. If you move lightly, these intervals can feel like light cardio, or a nice-feeling active/dynamic stretch. Or, you can focus on moving strong, contracting your muscles, or even actively working against yourself in order to step up the challenge. 

    In the last third of the routine, we drop to the floor for some mat core exercises. These also target the muscles of the front of the core, the sides, and the back. Even while we’re on the floor, we’re calling on balance challenges (e.g., the single arm reverse leg lift). Make sure to minimize the momentum that you allow into each movement, instead using your muscles actively, and moving with intention. 

    If you want to step up the challenge of this workout, hold onto a dumbbell or kettlebell where applicable. You can also choose the more advanced modifications for any given interval - for instance, doing a side plank “dip” from a full side plank, instead of a half, or lowering your legs closer to the ground during the scissorkicks. 

    When it comes to the difficulty of a routine, it is 100% your responsibility as the exerciser, especially when working out by yourself at home, to select your challenge level. If something feels too easy, check your form, then deepen your range of motion, or add more resistance in the form of weights. On the other hand, if something feels too difficult for your needs today, be sure to modify to make it work for you (e.g., shorten your active intervals, lengthen your rest intervals, take more breaks, etc). Speeding up or slowing down an exercise can make it more difficult or easy, depending on which exact exercise you’re talking about. Long story short, do anything you need to to make this routine work for your needs today. 

    You will need: a mat if you don’t have a soft surface on the floor, and an optional dumbbell or kettlebell to step up the challenge. 

    Workout Structure: 45 Seconds Active, 15 Seconds Rest
    Low Impact Star Jumps
    Captain Morgan Claps
    Narrow Squat + Row
    Woodchopper + Knee Pull
    Other Side
    5 Torso Twists + Punch
    Sumo Squat Leans
    Side Plank Dip + Knee
    Other Side
    Scissor Kicks
    Single Arm Reverse Leg Lift
    Other Side
    Straight Leg Crunch + Leg Drop

    How to use this abs workout? 
    You can do this workout as a standalone routine (just be sure to add a quick warm up and cool down), or you can use this as a burnout round on the end of a strength or HIIT workout. 

    How often should you train abs?
    If your midsection is sore after a workout, give those core muscles a rest. Just like any other muscle group in the body, your abs need a chance to heal and repair after strenuous workouts. When your soreness is gone or nearly gone, you can do core intensive workouts again.

    I hope you enjoyed this workout! Did you listen to music while you worked out today? Tell me what you listened to!