“Running is a full-body, upright movement. By targeting abdominal muscles in a standing position, we make the workout more functional as it relates to running,” Alison Staples, coach at &Running in Howard County, Maryland, tells Runner’s World. “Standing abdominal workouts are a great way to strengthen the entire core, improve posture, and engage stabilizing muscles throughout the entire body.” This means more efficient running, fewer injury-inducing muscle compensations, and faster times overall.
If you’re looking for a quick abs workout you can do anywhere, regardless of space constraints or ground conditions (you don’t even need an exercise mat!), give Staples’ standing circuit a shot. It also doubles as a dynamic warmup, thanks to full-body movements like the reverse half lunge with twist and sprinter high knee.
How to do it: Perform each exercise below for the number of reps listed, resting for 15 seconds between exercises. Repeat the full circuit a total of 3 times.
Each move is demonstrated by Staples in the video above so you can master the proper form.
Standing Bicycle Crunch
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands behind head. Engage core as you lift right knee and rotate your torso to the right, tapping right knee with left elbow. Return to standing position, then repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating, performing 12 reps on each side.
Reverse Half Lunge With Twist
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended in front of chest, hands clasped together. Take a big step back onto ball of left foot, engage core, and bend knees. Rotate torso to the right and then back to center. Step left foot forward, returning to standing position. Repeat, this time stepping right foot back and rotating torso to the left. Continue alternating, performing 10 reps on each side.
Standing Oblique Crunch
Stand with feet hip-width apart, chest lifted, hands behind head. With right knee bent and pointed to the side, lift right leg and bend to the right at the waist, bringing right elbow to right knee. Return to standing position, then repeat on the left side. Continue alternating, performing 10 reps on each side.
Sprinter High Knee
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides, elbows bent 90 degrees. As you take a big step back onto the ball of your right foot and bend both knees, bring right elbow forward and left elbow back. Quickly drive right knee forward and up, switching arms and hopping on left foot. Land with the right foot back in a reverse lunge, right elbow forward, left elbow back. Perform 10 reps, then switch sides.