6 Ab Toning Moves Better Than Crunches

According to a former ballerina turned Pilates pro.

By: Noah Lehava
Photography: Renée Rodenkirchen

A workout routine doesn’t get more tired than when you do the same five—we’ll call them 'classic'—exercises you've done since middle school phys ed class. And, TBH, in adulthood, it’s also likely the reason your fitness results have plateaued. Don’t know about you, but we’re always collectively on the lookout for a fun (and, okay, challenging) way to work on our fitness. That’s where Heather Andersen, the former ballerina-turned-Pilates-instructor of the aptly named New York Pilates studio in SoHo, comes in. Let’s just say her method of core toning is just what we needed. And even though we’re not ones to give up our tried-and-true moves that easily, hers make it totally worth it.

 


 

Move #1

Side Plank

 

With your top leg lifted to hip height, "thread the needle" by rotating your body and reaching your top hand through the gap between your body and the floor. 

Do 10 reps.

 


 

Move #2

Planking

 

While in a standard plank position, bend one leg into the chest, then extend it straight behind the body, all while maintaining a neutral spine. 

Do 10 on each side. This should get you very warm. 

 


 

Move #3

Double Leg Stretch

 

This is a classic Pilates mat exercise. Try to keep your low back neutral while you sit in a "V" position and extend your arms and legs at the same time.

It's an ab killer. Shoot for 10 reps, and rest if your neck bothers you.

 


 

Move #4

Bridging

 

This one is my personal favorite. With your pelvis and heels lifted, extend one leg up to the ceiling, then lower to hip height and lift back up. Keep hips completely level the whole time. You'll need to work your butt and obliques to keep it square.

Do 10 on each side. 

 


 

Move #5

Kneeling Leg Lifts

 

Just like a side plank but your knee is set down. Lower and lift your top leg to the side. Feel your glute med burn as it works one side and stabilizes the other.

Do 20 reps on each side. 

 


 

Move #6

Plank to Pike With the Roller

 

In a plank position, with the roller under your ankles, use your abs to lift your pelvis up to the ceiling, shifting your weight into your hands and dropping your head as the roller comes with you. Return to your plank. This will work your entire body.

Shoot for 8 reps. 

 

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