When it comes to trimming your middle, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Online workouts are often designed for younger women or don’t keep physical limitations in mind. Driving out to a gym takes a huge chunk of time out of your day. And why drive out into the cold weather when you can do a quick routine at home? Fortunately, you don’t need fancy machines or a gym membership to get rid of belly fat. You don’t even need to get down on the floor all the time! Just ask Denise Austin, fitness expert and creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine in partnership with Woman’s World.
Denise recently created a standing abs workout routine, and it’s only eight minutes long. “You don’t always have to get down on the floor and do a crunch,” she says. “It’s a wonderful way to kind of, you know, flatten out the belly and still burn some extra calories.” If you’re ready to take on Denise’s flat abs workout, check out the video below.
This eight-minute workout will strengthen your abdominal muscles, boost your balance, and help you tone your whole core. Continue reading for Denise’s tips and tricks to enhance your workout.
The Exercises in Denise’s Standing Abs Workout
To warm up your body and get you started, Denise begins with some marching knee lifts. Standing knee lifts strengthen your entire midsection – and as a bonus – your hips and back. They also test your balance. “Just by pulling up one leg towards your knee and you’re standing there, that takes balance and core muscles to even stand there on one leg,” Denise says.
From there, Denise moves into a set of exercises that target your obliques, or a set of muscles on the sides of your core. She performs side crunches on both sides, gentle abdominal twists, and side reaches. After that, she helps you connect to your core with a simple but effective breathing exercise.
According to Denise, performing all of these exercises upright reduces strain, tension, and intensity. “This kind of gives you a chance to think about good posture while you’re standing up, [and] think about good technique without any neck pressure or pulling of the neck and shoulders,” she says. Connecting with your core midway through the routine is important, too. “It really kind of forces you to kind of contract your abdominals and really engage the core muscles while you’re doing this,” she adds.
With the breathing exercise complete, Denise moves into full-body knee lifts. These are more of a challenge than the previous knee lifts, because she tilts backward with her arms above her head, then pulls her arms down and uses that force to perform a total-body crunch. Balance is even more important here!
With the full-body knee lifts out of the way, Denise begins a set of full-body, standing side lifts to give those obliques an extra burn. She pays close attention to her posture at this point and pulls her abdominal muscles in to maintain balance. After completing the movement on both sides, she returns to the breathing exercise. But this time, she deepens the stretch by straightening her legs, flattening her back, and pulling her abs in as tightly as she can. She uses this stretch to move into slow, weight-free deadlifts to help you further connect to your core. To finish off the routine, Denise performs slow side stretches and torso stretches.
Should you do this standing-abs workout barefoot or in sneakers?
While Denise performed this workout in sneakers, anything goes! “You can use them or not,” she says. “You’re not doing impact exercises so it’s not necessary. But I use it just because I like the balance in my foot. Good shoes have a good arch support … It’s totally up to you! I’ve done the whole routine barefoot, too.”
How else can you strengthen your abs and balance?
Performing this routine regularly will help you remember to pull in your abdominal muscles during the day. That helps you not only strengthen your abs while you’re not working out, but also improve your posture and balance. “It gives you a chance to understand that you can tighten up your core even while you’re standing in line at a grocery store,” Denise adds.
What other workouts could you pair with this one to make it longer?
If Denise’s standing abs workout gives you a burst of energy to do more, visit her channel to find plenty of quick exercise routines. Many of her routines are low-impact, under 10 minutes long, and performed standing. (For an example, try this eight-minute, low-impact interval workout.)
And for more ab routines, nutrition hacks, and expert advice on how to lose weight and keep it off, check out Denise’s fall issue of Fit Over 50 (Buy at the Magazine Shop, $12.99). Don’t wait to get your copy!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.