We love a plank hold as much as the next girl, and we’ll bicycle kick our way through just about anything. But if you’re looking for new ways to work your core that don’t involve face planting Superman-ing onto a sweaty exercise mat, we know just the thing. In fact, we know 15. These standing ab exercises are some of the most underrated moves in the fitness world. Just like the crunches, sit-ups and toe taps you love (or loathe), standing ab exercises target your entire core—including your back and glutes—to help you sculpt, tone and strengthen one of the most important muscle groups in the body.

Unlike the usual mat moves, standing ab exercises are functional, meaning they work with your natural body movements to mimic how you’d utilize your muscles in real life—say, when carrying groceries, mowing the lawn or deep cleaning the bathroom. They help support long-term balance and stabilization while also minimizing the strain on your neck, back, knees and wrists (especially if you experience any difficulty getting up off the ground). Plus, they can be done absolutely anywhere with minimal space and equipment required.

To help you get started, we tapped Fit Body App trainer Brittany Lupton for the lowdown on her favorite standing ab exercises. Show off at the gym or bust a move in your living room, but keep a lightweight dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate nearby to use as needed. And if you don't have weights, feel free to sub in a full jug of water or laundry detergent (just make sure it's easy to hold).

RELATED: The Super Subtle (But Common) Way You’re Sabotaging Your At-Home Workout

standing ab exercises cross body chop
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

1. Cross Body Chop

Step 1: Hold one weight in both hands (or use bodyweight as demoed). Extend your arms up overhead to one side, then squat down slightly while rotating your torso to the opposite side as your arms follow, extending down toward your toes.

Step 2: Stand up, using your obliques to lift your torso up and over, extending your arms back up towards the starting position. Complete 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

standing ab exercises cross body leg lift
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

2. Cross Body Leg Lift

Step 1: Standing tall, place both hands behind your head.

Step 2: Engaging your core, lift one straightened leg up while extending the opposite arm out to reach toward your toes. Keep your spine long and your head lifted (don’t hunch over or arch your back). Extend only as far as your mobility allows. Return to the starting position and complete 20 reps total, alternating sides.

standing ab exercises High Knee Lift
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

3. High Knee Lift

Step 1: Begin standing extending both arms straight out in front of you so that they’re perpendicular to your body.

Step 2: Lift one knee up to hip height, engaging your core to maintain balance. Return to the starting position and complete 20 reps total, alternating sides.

standing ab exercises Leaning Obliques
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

4. Leaning Obliques

Step 1: Begin standing holding one dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate in both hands. Lift the weight up over your head, engaging your core and tucking your hips to avoid arching your back.

Step 2: Slowly, lean to the right keeping your hips square and your arms in line with your torso. Only extend as far as your mobility allows.

Step 3: Squeeze your obliques to bring your upper body back to center and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total, alternating sides.

standing ab exercises Lunge Crunch
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

5. Lunge Crunch

Step 1: Begin in a lunge position with your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and the other leg stretched out behind you. Extend both arms out in front of you at a diagonal.

Step 2: Engaging your core, drive the back knee up and in toward your chest, while swinging your arms down to frame your knee.

Step 3: Extend your leg back to the starting position and repeat. You should be driving your knee up and in as quickly as possible to maintain the explosive movement. Complete 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

standing ab exercises Squat Crunch
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

6. Squat Crunch

Step 1: Place your hands behind your head with your elbows extended out wide. With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go). Keep your spine neutral and your chest lifted.

Step 2: Engaging your core, rotate your upper body to the right, bringing your left elbow toward your opposite knee. Keep your hips steady as you twist through your torso.

Step 3: Rotate your upper body to the left side and repeat, completing 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing across toe touch
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

7. Standing Cross Over Toe Touch

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended out to the side. Hinge forward at your waist, lowering your torso down while reaching your left hand toward your opposite foot.

Step 2: Engage your core to help lift your torso back up to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing Bicycles
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

8. Standing Bicycle

Step 1: Begin standing, placing your hands behind your head with your elbows extended out wide.

Step 2: With your feet hip-width apart, bring your left knee in toward your chest and across toward your right side. Simultaneously, bring your opposite elbow down toward your lifted knee, squeezing your abdominals throughout the movement.

Step 3: Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing Leg Lift
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

9. Standing Leg Lift

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, arms extended out in front of you, perpendicular to your body.

Step 2: Engaging through your lower abdominals, lift one leg at a time up to about hip height. Lower back down and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing Bird Dog
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

10. Standing Bird Dog

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, arms hanging down at your sides. Drive your left knee up and in toward your chest, while simultaneously lifting your right arm up overhead, keeping the arm straight. Use your core to maintain balance.

Step 2: Lower back down and repeat on the opposite side. Complete 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing Side Bend
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

11. Weighted Standing Side Bend

Step 1: Begin standing holding a dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate in one hand, letting it hang loosely to one side.

Step 2: Start shifting your torso to the side with the weight, hinging at your waist and lowering down as far as is comfortable.

Step 3: Squeeze through your obliques to help lift your torso back up to the starting position. Continue this movement for 30 seconds before switching to the opposite side.

standing ab exercises Weighted Core Crunch
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

12. Weighted Core Crunch

Step 1: Begin standing holding a dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate in both hands above your head.

Step 2: Drive one knee up and in toward your chest as you simultaneously lower the weight down to tap your knee. Lift the weight back up as you lower your knee to return to the starting position.

Step 3: Repeat on the opposite side, engaging through your core to maintain balance. Complete 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises Standing Rotation
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

13. Weighted Standing Rotation

Step 1: Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extending out in front holding one light dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell plate in your hands. (This can also be done using body weight only, depending on your fitness level.)

Step 2: Twist your upper body to one side and let your arms rotate with it, moving through your core and allowing your back foot to pivot as your twist.

Step 3: Return to center and repeat on the opposite side, completing 20 reps total.

standing ab exercises standing side crunch leg lift
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

14. Standing Side Crunch Leg Lift

Step 1: Begin standing, placing your hands behind your head with your elbows extended out wide. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bring one leg back behind you as if you were lowering down into a curtsy lunge.

Step 2: Keeping your chest lifted, drive the knee back up and out to the side, reaching toward your elbow. Return to the starting position and repeat, completing 15 reps on each side.

standing ab exercises Lunge Crunch with a twist
Brittany Lupton/Sofia Kraushaar

15. Lunge Crunch with a Twist

Step 1: Begin in a lunge position with your left leg extended back behind you and your right knee bent. Raise your arms up above your head.

Step 2: Using your core, drive your back knee up and in toward your chest while you simultaneously swing both arms down toward the left side, twisting through your core.

Step 3: Return to the starting position and repeat, completing 15 reps on each side.

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