What an ab-tastic mood we’re in! We teamed up with fitness wonder Stefanie Steel, and she’s giving us a workout we can count on to create the dream abs we’ve always wanted. When your core is strong, you’re strong — from your back and posture, to your trunk and stability. Let’s get into it!
SuperSTEEL Ab Workout
Each Superset is to be performed 3-4 times, with very little rest between. For example, do Superset 1-3 times, with minimal rest between each set, move on to Superset 2 for three sets, and then finish with 3 sets of the final Superset.
Tabletop Press: 30-Second Hold
Start by lying on your back, with your knees in front at a 90-degree angle or in a supine tabletop position. Make sure that your lower back is flat on the mat. Press the palms of each hand into the knees and simultaneously press the knees into the hands. This one begins as a slow burn in the core, but will very quickly fire it up!
The tabletop press is an excellent isometric exercise. Isometric exercises are highly beneficial because they help to activate the target muscle group (in this case the muscles of the upper and middle abdomen) with no risk of impact, while helping to build muscle endurance.
Plank: 45-Second Hold
Press up into full plank. Shoulders should be over wrists, and feet should be the distance of your mat, or slightly more narrow. Be sure to engage the core, and draw the shoulder blades in, all while focusing on pushing the mat (or floor) away. Squeeze those glutes!
Plank is a wonderful no-impact core exercise. It is often looked at as the mother of all core exercises! Plank works your whole body—quadriceps, abdomen, shoulders, arms, forearms —and it helps to build good posture.
Side Plank: 20-Second Hold (each side)
Let’s get those obliques! Start by lying on your left side. Place your left palm directly beneath your shoulder, and extend the legs to the bottom of the mat. Press yourself up into a side plank. Focus on keeping the hips in line and stacked (no dipping down toward the ground). The feet can be staggered, one on top of the other. Modification: Place your right knee down for extra support. Repeat on the left side.
The side plank—the lovely sister to the plank—is another excellent total body trainer; it works the shoulders, helping to strengthen the entire shoulder girdle, the obliques, the glutes, and the legs.
Boat Pose: 45-Second Hold
Start seated on your mat or floor with the soles of your feet touching the ground. Gradually hinge your torso back to the point of contraction in the abdomen. From here, lift the feet three inches from the ground and extend the arms to frame your hips. Modification: Keep those feet planted on the ground, or for a progression, extend the legs and point the toes.
Boat pose is another great core strengthener. It helps to improve balance, posture, and stability of the spine.
Bird Dog 12 reps (each side)
Start in a tabletop position, with shoulders over the wrists and knees beneath the hips. Gradually extend the left arm out as you extend the right leg back behind you. At full extension, bring both limbs back in and touch that knee to the elbow. Repeat, making sure to squeeze the glutes on the extension, and really make contact between the elbow and knee. Repeat on the other side.
Bird dog is a powerhouse of an exercise. It helps to stabilize the lower back, strengthen the core and glutes, and improve balance and coordination. Bird dog is an excellent exercise to help prevent lower back pain, as well.
Oblique Crunch 15 reps (each side)
Begin by lying on your right side. Place your hands behind your head, creating a V with each elbow. Lift your legs and keep them glued together. Draw your knees in to meet your elbow, while drawing the upper torso side-long to your knees. Repeat with your other elbow.
Oblique crunches are a low-impact way to tone and target the obliques. This exercise helps with balance and the tone of the obliques.
Move through a series of cat-cow poses, some easy down-dog, and upward-dog repetitions to stretch out the core!
Final thoughts: Having a strong core is key to a healthy-functioning system. A strong core helps ward off low back pain, hip issues, and helps improve the longevity of our other regimens. A strong body starts with a strong core.
This strengthening ab workout was contributed exclusively to Ellie by professional model, actress, and group fitness instructor, Stefanie Steel. Instagram: @stefaniesteel