All Things Abs: Go from a No-Pack to a "Woah"-Pack

Erin Baiano

We all know that girl who basically lives in crop tops and sports bras to show off her insanely chiseled abs. But strong stomach muscles aren't just amazing fashion accessories—they're also the key to everything from powerful jumps to proper technique. Dance Spirit spoke with Jessica Sander, a personal trainer in NYC, about the most effective exercises to help you score your dream core.


Exercise 1: Supine Opposition Extensions

Purpose: Strengthens your posterior core (a chain of muscles that wraps around the back of your body) and psoas

1. Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended toward the ceiling.

2. Extend your left arm behind your head while lowering your right leg, holding it just above the ground.

3. Return your arm and leg back to the starting position, then repeat with your right arm and left leg.

Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Pro tip: Make sure your stationary arm and leg, as well as your pelvis, stay stable while you lower and raise your working arm and leg.

Erin Baiano

Erin Baiano

Exercise 2: Side Plank with Rotation

Purpose: Builds endurance in your core and promotes overall ab and back stability

1. Start in a side plank, resting on your right forearm with your left arm extended towards the ceiling and your feet stacked.

2. Reach your left arm under your torso, slowly rotating your body as your arm follows through.

3. Once you're fully rotated, switch arms so you're supporting yourself with your left arm. Reach your right arm to the ceiling.

4. Repeat the exercise to the other side.

Repeat 12 to 15 times in each direction.

Pro tip: Pull your abs up and in, as though there's a wall in front of and behind them.

Erin Baiano

Erin Baiano

Exercise 3: V-Sit with Trunk Rotation

Purpose: Increases overall ab control and strengthens your obliques

1. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your legs extended in front of you.

2. Lift your upper body off the floor and draw your knees toward your chest, maintaining a slight curve in your spine and balancing on your sitz bones.

3. Stack your forearms and slowly rotate your torso left, then right.

4. Return to the center and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Pro tip: Exhale on your way up to engage your abdominals. Imagine you're an accordion—the goal is for your whole body to move in unison.

Erin Baiano

Erin Baiano

Health & Body
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

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Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)

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