There are many variations on this theme of holding yourself rock-like while something tries to knock you off-centre. Byrne says, “I have my clients hold an exercise ball and I slap the side of the ball and they hold their position.”
There is a picture of soccer overlord Cristiano Ronaldo holding one of these balls in front of him with the extra complication of a resistance band around his neck and attached to his feet. His core will be battling these loads and forces in a kind of tuned-up version of exercise mortals like ourselves can try.
Resisting these destabilising tugs on your body is so much more like the demands life places on our core. Crunches are odd: we spent very little time lying down and trying to reach an awkwardly placed overhead light switch but anyone who has ever lifted a child out of a car seat will be familiar with these standing core workout moves.
As we grow older, the hunt for abs like an action hero seems less appealing than the ability to pick up a coffee table book without weeks of back pain. It’s time to stand up for our core muscles.
Standing ab work
You don’t necessarily need an exercise band or gym to do standing ab work. High knee lifts, leaning obliques and standing leg lifts will all do the job.
Stand and place your hands behind your head with your elbows out wide.
With your feet hip-width apart, lift your left knee in towards your chest and across to the right side.
At the same time, bring your opposite elbow down toward your lifted knee, squeezing your abs throughout the movement.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.
Standing Leg Lift
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms extended out in front of you, perpendicular to your body.
Tighten your lower abs, lift one leg to about hip-height. Lower leg back down and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.
Weighted Standing Side Bend
Stand holding a dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate in one hand, letting it hang loosely at your side.
Lean your torso to the side with the weight, hinging at your waist and lowering down as far as is comfortable.
Squeeze through your obliques to help lift your upper body back up to the starting position. Continue doing this movement for 30 seconds before switching to the opposite side.
How do you train your core – a standing workout or mat work? What are your favourite core exercises? Join the conversation in the comments section below