With the dawn of winter approaching and the festive season looming around the corner, thoughts of hearty comfort meals, holiday treats, and adult beverages often come to mind. Unfortunately, these popular indulgences do no favors for keeping a flat tummy over the cold winter months. Sticking with ab workouts throughout winter is wise since it will help you maintain a strong core, sculpted abs, and a flat tummy—even during the holidays. That’s why we chatted with a fitness pro to pinpoint five standing ab exercises you can do with weights to achieve a slim, ultra-toned midsection.
Instead of relying on the same old ab exercises you’ve always done, we highly recommend giving these weighted standing ab exercises a whirl. To get you started, we chatted with Rachel MacPherson, CPT, an ACE-certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares her top five standing ab exercises you can do with resistance to torch extra calories. So read on to learn how to keep your tummy toned all winter long, then check out Drop Inches off Your Waist With This Cardio & Resistance Workout.
First up are dumbbell wood chops. “This is a rotational core exercise that improves core strength and stability,” MacPherson tells Eat This, Not That!, adding, “Unlike floor-based core movements like crunches that only work in one plane of motion, dumbbell wood chops use a more natural motion that you might perform while doing daily tasks.”
To get started, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell with both hands and engaging your core. Lift the dumbbell up and toward your right side. Keep your arms straight throughout the entire movement. Twist your torso, and carefully rotate your legs to bring the dumbbell down to your left. Bend your knees while dropping your hips to lower the dumbbell toward the ground. Lift the dumbbell back up to the right and overhead. Repeat for eight to 10 reps per side.
If you’re looking for a solid core burn, this exercise will annihilate your obliques and upper abs while protecting your back. “As you brace to keep yourself steady, you’ll work all the deep stabilizing muscles of your core. These muscles help pull everything in to support your spine,” explains MacPherson.
Now for the step-by-step. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in front of your lower abdomen in both hands with an overhand grip and good posture. Brace your core, and pass the kettlebell around your body, switching between hands in the front and back of your body. Aim for 15 to 20 passes. Repeat for three rounds.
“Kettlebell windmills require strength, stability, and mobility. They’ll work your entire core and fire up your obliques,” states MacPherson.
To properly perform this exercise, clean and press a kettlebell overhead with your right arm, keeping it above you with your elbow locked out. Push your right hip to the right, and bend from the hips to the left while keeping your gaze on the kettlebell above your head. Reach toward the floor with your left hand, keeping your arm close to your body. Once you reach down as far as you can without overreaching, pause and return to the starting position with your raised arm locked out safely overhead. Aim for 5 to 10 reps per side and repeat for three sets.
“Another excellent core stabilization and ab strengthening exercise, the suitcase carry is a unilateral (one-sided) loaded carry,” says MacPherson. “This makes it a highly functional movement that mimics daily activity. In addition, this exercise helps build spinal stiffness, making you less likely to have a sore back.”
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand with an overhand grip. Brace your core, and keep your shoulders back. Walk forward with steady, deliberate steps while contracting your core and keeping your hips level, resisting the pull to the weighted side. Walk for a set distance, turn around, then return to the start. Once you are back at the starting position, switch arms, and repeat on the other side. Do this for a total of four rounds.
This movement is excellent for increasing core stability and performing daily activities. MacPherson says, “The Pallof press is an isometric hold that builds abdominal and core strength and stability. You work in the transverse plane, which is often neglected during training, but it’s important for functional strength.”
Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your left side beside a cable machine or anchored resistance band at about chest height. Hold the handle in your left hand. Engage your core while holding the cable or band handle in both hands. Push the handle out in front of you at roughly chest height. Hold the handle out for 10 slow breaths while bracing against the resistance of the weight. Repeat three times.