Target your core and raise your heart rate with this fun belly dancing workout for your abs.
Planks and crunches are great, but if you start doing them all the time, being stuck on the floor can get a bit boring. Dance abs workouts are more enjoyable and can fire up the same muscles, plus they come with benefits that can translate to your other workouts. (See: How Dance Can Make You a Better Overall Athlete) Try a round of hip-hop or belly dance exercises for abs, and you might forget you're even working out.
Not ready to take up belly dancing for the sake of your abs just yet? We asked dance instructor Jennifer Galardi, star of the Dance Off the Inches: Hip Hop Jam DVD, for an at-home dance abs workout that includes some of her favorite belly dance exercises. She paired her favorite abs-toning dance moves with some upbeat songs (find her playlist here) so you can get an incredible core workout, without ever having to hit the floor. If your go-to ab floor workouts are starting to feel stale, crank some music, suit up, and let loose. (Related: Strengthen Your Core with This Viral Dance Move Workout)
How it works: Three or four non-consecutive days a week, do each exercise with no rest. Repeat the entire circuit 3 times total.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Hip Hop Crunch
Stand with feet hip-width apart, spine neutral, and hands behind head. Inhale.
Exhale, drawing abdominals in and lifting right knee toward chest, crunching in (keep elbows out to the side and avoid pulling on neck). Balance for a moment before inhaling while returning to starting position. Repeat with left knee. Continue, alternating knees each rep.
2. Waistline Reach
Stand with feet hip-width apart, spine neutral, abs tight, and hands behind head.
Reach down to the side with right arm, keeping abs tight, shoulders down, and hips square (avoid twisting torso). Return to starting position. Repeat on left side. Continue, alternating sides each rep.
3. Jazz Isolation
Stand with feet wider than hips, knees bent, spine neutral, hands on hips, and abs tight. Shift rib cage to the left, drawing abs in and up, keeping shoulders square and hips steady.
Quickly switch sides, shifting rib cage to the right. Continue, alternating sides each rep.
4. Hip Roll
Stand with feet wider than hips, knees slightly bent, arms out to sides of shoulders with elbows bent at 90 degrees, and hands in fists with palms facing down. Keep spine neutral and abs tight.
Raise right hip up and to the right and then backward in a circular motion (right heel can lift during this movement). Roll hips around and to the left, drawing abs in tighter to spine. Complete a full circle by drawing hips forward and underneath shoulders. Repeat in the opposite direction to complete set.
8 per side
5. Pump It
Stand with feet wider than hips, knees bent, spine neutral, elbows bent, and hands in fists by chin in a boxing “guard” position. Exhale, bracing abs in tight, and “pump” hips up and underneath shoulders, squeezing elbows in tighter to sides and lowering fists to armpit level.
Inhale and return to starting position. Exhale and lift left hip up and to the left (squeezing through left side), pumping elbows toward left hip and lifting left heel to deepen the twist.
Inhale and return to starting position. Exhale and repeat on right side. Continue, alternating sides each rep.