Halle Berry’s fitness routine is no joke. When training for a role, she spends up to five hours a day in the gym, which means that she’s had to get creative to keep herself from burning out. “I always like to have variety in my workout,” says Berry. “I’ve been active throughout my life, but the thing that has changed is my fitness routine—I started with a focus on working out with weights and have expanded to dabbling in Pilates, yoga, and am very heavy into martial arts.” She’s a big fan of remixing up her workouts, and one way that she does it is by challenging her core in totally unexpected ways.
“I like to continuously respin my workout routines to challenge my muscles—changing things up helps so that I don’t hit a fitness plateau,” says the actress, who launched her own wellness platform, Re-Spin, last year, with exactly that idea in mind. Now, she’s teaming up with fitness app FitOn to bring a diverse roster of (free!) workouts into people’s living rooms so that they can stave off mat-induced boredom at home.
As a way of keeping things interesting in her own fitness routine, Berry has found a few totally unique ways to work her core—without a single plank or sit-up in sight. And while they do involve adding a bit of extra equipment to your home gym, you (thankfully) don’t need to do them for five hours a day in order to feel their effects. Scroll through to try ’em for yourself.
1. Stationary bike
Spin classes are known to give you an intense daily dose of cardio, but pedaling on a stationary bike is also a great way to add some sneaky core work into your routine. “A common misconception about cycling is that it’s only a leg workout,” Peloton instructor Kendall Toole previously told Well+Good. “Of course your main muscles that are prime movers in the workout are your quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, plus your glutes. But you’re also working your entire core, and that involves more than your rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis muscles—it includes your lower back.” Your core is responsible for stabilizing your body and fires up the muscles in your abs, back, and side-body. And the best part? You likely won’t even realize that you’re getting a two-for-one cardio/core workout.
2. Pull-up bar
Yes, pull-ups will leave your upper body burning, but they can also help strengthen your core. When you’re doing them properly, “any pull-up focuses on engaging your core,” says Dominic Anthony, trainer and owner of Dominic Effect. Whether you’re doing a full pull-up, an assisted version, or the CrossFit-favorite, kipping, keep your core tight as you use your upper body to pull yourself toward the bar. And if you’re not quite ready for the real deal, try a dead hang, which involves simply holding your weight on the bar and targets your upper back, shoulders, and core.
3. Olympic rings
When you’re ready to kick your pull-up game up a notch, Berry’s a fan of trying them on a set of Olympic rings. You can set the rings above your head to do classic pull-ups or chin-ups, you can lower them closer to the ground and use them for moves like ab rollouts, elevated planks, Superman thrusts, or to add a little bit of instability to your elevated push-ups. For inspiration, check out the video above.
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