Best at-home workouts for abs & core that don’t depend on leg weight?
July 23, 2021 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I’ve been doing at-home Pilates since the beginning of quarantine and am struggling to balance my non-leg days.

As above, I do at home Pilates workouts that alternate between abs, butt, legs, etc. I also run. I find that with the types of Pilates workouts I’m doing, most ab/core workouts depend on leg weight— leg lifts, leg drops, Russian twists with legs elevated, etc. Often these workouts are meant to also engage the quads. However, between running & dedicated leg days, I’d actually like to I give my quads etc. a break. For instance, today is my abs/core day but I’m taking a rest day instead because I can tell my legs need some rest, which seems backwards.

On top of this, while I have built some strength in my core, it’s generally my weakest area and I’d like to make it stronger.

Do you have any great at home abs/core routines that don’t involve a lot of leg stamina? I have free weights at home but no easy access to a gym/machines. (If you have favorite workouts on a machine I wouldn’t mind hearing them as I may start going back to the gym in the next couple months. Or if you just want to reality check me that equipment is the way to go, the type/exercises would be great to hear. Im fine with a variety of input.) I can do crunches and roll ups and candlestick dippers and planks but I haven’t seen a lot of progress, maybe because I’m not doing enough? Basically if you have a routine that shows results, I’m interested.
posted by stoneandstar to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: If it matters, I’m a woman. I use free weights for upper body work and have realistic views on how much my specific body will bulk, but have no idea how to really build my lower abs and obliques. Upper abs are a little more obvious but could still use work. The target is free, easy functional strength.
posted by stoneandstar at 12:24 PM on July 23, 2021

Best answer: Some of the exercises that my trainer has me doing as part of core workouts include plank-ups, bird dogs, and glute bridges.
posted by hanov3r at 12:49 PM on July 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Planks + side planks are good, so are leg lifts where you hold your legs in the air about 6-12 inches from the ground (these also work the hip muscles but not so much the leg muscles lower down).

Also IMO it's hard to visually see ab progress in a lot of cases. I could never see my ab exercise progress until I lost a significant amount of weight. (But I had made more progress before losing the weight than afterward.)
posted by circular at 1:58 PM on July 23, 2021

This is only informed by my exercising, and memories of Pilates instructors correcting me years ago, but I frequently use my leg and hip muscles when trying to do core work that’s not supposed to use leg an hip muscles. Sometimes if I back way off on difficulty I actually get to my core better.
posted by clew at 3:24 PM on July 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 2nding hanov3r on those glute bridges. They look simple and may feel like not much is happening, but for me they help get the glutes working with the lower abdominals in a way that really encourages a trunk that works together.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 4:19 PM on July 23, 2021

Best answer: I've been doing marching glute bridges and bird dogs for physical therapy for my back, and I find I can engage my abs or not... it took me a while to be able to feel it, but now I consistently do engage them. I didn't even realize I wasn't for a good long while.

When you say you haven't seen progress, do you mean in how it feels or visually?

Also, I hear you talking about core and abs, but what about your back?
posted by bluedaisy at 4:59 PM on July 23, 2021

Best answer: When I learned how to do dead bugs correctly (keeping lower back FLAT on the ground), I was blown away re: how much I could get it in my abs.
posted by Paper rabies at 6:12 PM on July 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

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