6 Standing Abs Exercises to Fire Up Your Core

Core strength transforms the cycling experience, so here are a collection of cracker abs exercises to empower your power this festive season.


By Jordan Smith |

As cyclists, we know building a strong core (cue: abs exercises) will help us ride better and stay injury-free. But let’s be honest, basic crunches can get tedious and boring. The good news is: You’re not tied to the floor. You can actually work your core in a functional way with standing abs exercises.

If you’re tired of doing the same predictable seated abdominal moves, are experiencing wrist pain, or have other reasons your current core routine isn’t cutting it, a good way to switch things up is by incorporating standing ab exercises into your routine.

That’s why Kara Miklaus, NASM-certified trainer and co-owner of WORK Training Studio in Irvine, California, created these functional moves that get you up off the ground while still working your core.

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How to do it: Perform each move 2 to 3 times, rotating through them as a circuit on your strength training days or at the end of a moderate-intensity ride as a finisher. Aim to do the circuit 2 to 3 times per week. As with all abs exercises, be sure to focus on your posture and keep your core engaged throughout each move.

Side Bend (Lateral Flexion)

The simplest of our abs exercises… start standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a heavy weight in your right hand at your right side. Engage your core and lean to the right, dropping the weight down just above your knee. Be sure to keep shoulders back and not let the weight pull your right shoulder or chest forward. Come back up to the starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.


Dumbbell Wood Chop

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell with both hands at left hip. Reach dumbbell upward at a diagonal, arms straight out in front of you so it’s in the air on the right side of the body. Draw dumbbell back down to the left hip. Perform this abs exercise for 30 seconds on your left side and then repeat for 30 seconds on your right side.


Dumbbell Jab (The Punchiest Abs Exercise Ever)

Start with a lighter weight in each hand. Stand in a boxing stance with knees slightly bent and left foot forward. Hold the weights at chest height. Mimic boxing—alternate jabbing your right and left hand quickly in front of you, as if throwing punches. Continue for 30 seconds.


Farmers Walk (Suitcase Carry)

Stand tall while holding a heavy dumbbell in each hand. (For more of a challenge, you can hold a weight in one hand which throws off your balance.) Walk across the room. Then turn around and walk back to return to start. Repeat for 30 seconds, and feel your core burning the good burn.


Band Rotation

Secure a resistance band to a wall or loop the band around a bar or pole in the gym. Stand upright next to the wall or pole your so your left side is facing it and grab the band with your left hand. Bring the band to the middle of your torso and hold onto the handle with both hands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. As with all abs exercises – to the point of discomfort, but no further.

Pull the band away from you to the right, rotating your torso to follow your arms. Your right foot should stay planted on the ground, while your left food pivots inward. Return to starting position. That’s one rep. Continue for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.


Medicine Ball Oblique Toss

Start by standing about a foot away from a sturdy wall while holding a medicine ball (weight of your choice). Turn left side to wall ball at right hip. Toss the medicine ball at the wall while rotating your body forward toward the wall. Catch the ball as it bounces back off the wall. Repeat 10 times, then repeat on the opposite side. There you go: abs exercises, not quite made easy but stick to the above for a few weeks, and rock your core.

READ MORE ON: abs core CORE WORKOUT stability standing