Build core strength in just seven minutes with this standing abs workout

Ditch the sit-ups and planks and strengthen your mid-body muscles with this standing routine instead

Woman smiling and holding light weight dumbbells out in front of her in a gym
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sick of grinding through sit-ups to strengthen your abs? It might be time to try something new. There are plenty of ways to target these stomach muscles that don't involve doing a punishing number of crunches—including standing workouts.

This routine from personal trainer Viv Addo—one half of the coaching duo Mr and Mrs Muscle—takes less than 10 minutes. It will strengthen your abs, along with other important muscles in your core. 

All you need to do is a light or mid-weight dumbbell. If you're new to strength training, you could also use a lightweight household item like a water bottle. 

Watch Viv Addo's standing abs workout

This is an interval style workout. You will perform each move for 45 seconds then rest for 15. For maximal muscle engagement, think about squeezing the abdominal muscles throughout the entire workout.

Make sure you also take the time to warm-up and cool down before and after this routine. Use these stretching exercises to mobilize the entire body.

Why train your abs?

Your abs (or rectus abdominis) are found at the front of your stomach. They form part of your core, a collection of muscles around your mid-body. 

Building strength in the core has many benefits beyond improving the appearance of your abdominal muscles. Doing core exercises can improve your posture, reduce lower-back pain and also make everyday movement easier. This workout focuses on the abs, but it strengthens other core muscles like your side-lying obliques.

Standing ab exercises are an accessible option if you have an injury that makes mat-based exercises impossible. You can also include weights in this style of workout, which will challenge your muscles in new ways.

You can return to the above workout on a regular basis, increasing the weight of the dumbbell to challenge and strengthen your abs. This is a strength training method known as progressive overload, which is important if you want to increase muscle mass.

Need helping choosing your next set of weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.