This exercise is a great standard move to keep on hand that lengthens and takes pressure off the lower back, which ab workouts tend to strain. “A basic c-curve is very therapeutic after the glide work, so it makes sense to do this in conjunction with the glide work,” Stokes notes.

To get into position, first sit on the floor on your tailbone, as if you are about to lower back into a sit-up position, with a ball (you can sub a T-shirt or pillow, too) squeezed tightly between your thighs.

“When you hold something [here] and squeeze, you engage the inner thigh which works more through the low abdomen,” Stokes says. Rest on your elbows and make sure to maintain that height throughout.

Arch your back into a small stretch, tuck the tailbone and drive the low back down. Pick your elbows up and hold onto the backs of your thighs. Keep shoulders down, chin open, and elbows wide.

This is the c-curve position.

From here, grab a set of light weights (soup cans work, too!) and hold arms out by your knees. Lower arms and tap the ground, then lift back to start position.

Repeat as you hold the c-curve for 60-90 seconds, concentrating on the arm movements the entire time.

You can even do bicep curls instead, Stokes says. “Anything to take your mind off the fact your abs are burning.”

6.Hip Tips

Lay flat on your back, legs straight up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Place a ball in-between the inner thighs, hands relaxed down to the side. As you press in on the ball, tip the hips up.

It’s a subtle movement: Be careful not to rock your hips, just tip them up slightly, initiating all movement from your lower abdomen.

Crunch in and tip the hips, release halfway, repeat. Progress it by holding weights in your hands.

Do 15-20 controlled reps.


Start with your body sprawled out on the floor in an X, “like you look like you’re dead,” Stokes jokes, holding a weight in each hand. If it’s too heavy, you can also do without weights, but they will give you some extra chest and shoulder work.

Lift your left hand and bring the weight towards your right shin, lifting your torso and keeping your belly pulled into your spine, until you roll all the way up to balancing on your tailbone.

You can come up onto your elbow a bit to make it a little easier—don’t use it as a crutch, but as a guide. Lower back down and alternate sides. Try turning your foot out, still keeping the leg straight, to get a deeper inner thigh workout at the same time.

Do 24-30 reps, alternating every time (so 12-15 each side).

“This move works your whole transverse abdominus, and again, you’re moving the legs so you’re working the lower abdomen,” Stokes points out.

8.Six Pack Scissor

Do 12-15 per side, completing all on one side before switching to the other.

“Pace is last thing to be concerned about,” Stokes says. “Slower is better, slower is harder.” Again, going for quality over quantity is how you are really going to safely and effectively sculpt your muscles.