Photography by Dave Laus

You just finished a great workout, but don’t hit the showers yet. You can spare just five more minutes and a bit of steam to give your midsection one last mission. These three core-finishers are guaranteed to activate your body, front to back, making sure you don’t leave any muscle fibers untouched. They require no equipment and utilize body weight for resistance, so you can do them quickly at the end of any workout and still feel like you’ve done a full abs routine.

REPS: 15 | SETS: 2

What it works: Stabilizes abdominals and lower back; activates glutes and hamstrings
Set up: Lie on your back with knees bent. Activate your abdominal muscles by tightening them.
Action: Raise your hips off the floor until they form a line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths; return to the start position.

REPS: 15 per side | SETS: 2

What it works: Abdominals, glutes, shoulders and hamstrings
Set up: Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders and align your head and neck so your spine creates a straight line. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
Action: At the same time, straighten and extend your left arm and right leg, raising them until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a breath, then lower using control. Repeat with your right arm and left leg.

REPS: 15 per side | SETS: 2

What it works: Abdominals, glutes, lower back and shoulders
Set up: Begin in the plank position with your forearms and toes on the floor. Keep core engaged, as if you are bracing to be punched in the stomach. Your neck and torso should form a straight line, with your gaze looking down at the floor.
Action: Raise one leg approximately six inches off the ground and hold for a breath. Lower back to the start position, then immediately switch legs and repeat on the other side.

*If you have time, do an extra set of each exercise!


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