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.
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.
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.