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Standing core exercises for glutes and abs

This is an excerpt from Functional Core for Women by Kia Williams.

Lateral Leg Extension

Lateral Leg Extension

How It’s Done

  1. Stand tall with the shoulders back, chest up, and abs braced, arms placed at the sides or hands on hips or in prayer, and softly bend the knees for a stable base. Toes and knees are facing forward.
  2. Shift your weight to one foot (standing leg). Flexing the other foot (lifting foot) and leading with the blade of that foot, lift the leg to the side as high as you can without bending the knee or leaning the torso to the side. Keep the torso upright.
  3. With control, lower the leg, returning the foot to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for repetitions or switch sides.

Regressions and Progressions

  1. Hold on to a stable surface to help support balance for a regression.
  2. For a progression, add a resistance band at the lower leg region to make the exercise more challenging.

Safety Cues

  1. You do not have to lift your leg high for this move to be effective.
  2. Keep your torso upright and legs long the entire time while performing this exercise.

Variations

  1. This exercise can be performed standing upright, kneeling on all fours, or side lying on the floor if balance is a challenge.
  2. Add a resistance band and a weighted fitness bar or barbell; loop the resistance band just above both ankles for added resistance while firmly gripping the bar for added balance support.

Lateral Leg Extension Variation

Forward Flexion to Knee

Forward Flexion to Knee

How It’s Done

  1. Stand tall with the shoulders back, chest up, and abs braced, and softly bend the knees for a stable base. Toes and knees are facing forward.
  2. Place the hands behind the head with the fingers spread wide, thumbs at the nape of neck, and elbows wide.
  3. Exhale as you crunch or flex forward, lifting one knee up toward the chest.
  4. Inhale as you lower the leg, returning the foot to the starting position, standing upright with the chest lifted and proud.
  5. Repeat for repetitions or switch sides.

Regressions and Progressions

  1. Remain more upright and lessen the lift of the knee for a regression.
  2. For a progression, lift the knee higher and round the torso, crunching or flexing more forward.

Safety Cues

  1. Avoid pulling or tugging on the back of the head or neck.
  2. Keep a bend in the stabilizing leg to help keep a solid base and balance.

Variations

  1. Hold on to a stable surface for balance support.
  2. Use a resistance band or tubing under both feet to create greater abdominal challenge as one leg raises.

Forward Flexion to Knee Variation

More Excerpts From Functional Core for Women