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8 minute (8:23 minutes to be exact) belly up core routine

Each exercise will describe the less advanced version of exercise (level 1) and then up to the level 2 for a more advanced version. (the weights are optional and below each exercise is the *no-weight description.

As with most of my sequences I try to keep changing body position to a minimum so there is as little set up and wasted time as possible. The goal is a sequence that flows from one posture/exercise to the next.

It is Important to make sure you and your students are protecting the lower back. “make sure you are not arching the lower back - if you can slide your hand under your lower back then that is too much space and ultimately too much strain on your lower back. Be sure to press your lower back into the mat in exercises when we are on the floor. Always start with the less advanced version of exercise and level up from there.

There are 11 exercises in this routine.



  1. Weighted Scissors- I am using one 5 lb. dumbbell to do this exercise. Reach the dumbbell above your chest (hands on the ends) and extend your legs in a scissor position with the lower leg hovering just above the ground. Keep your legs as straight as you can and make sure you start with your chest and shoulders lifted off the ground. Flex or point your toes so the muscles in your legs are activated. *No weights- bring your hands behind your head.

  2. Weighted double leg pull through- Transition to the next exercise by bringing both legs up to the ceiling. Bend your knees and bring the one dumbbell to just above your ankles. As you extend the legs out bring the dumbbell over your head. If bringing your legs extended and close to the ground bothers your lower back or creates a big arch - then do not lower your legs as far to the ground; instead straighten your legs to a height where you are able to keep your lower back pressing into the mat. * No weights- Use a yoga block or towel in the same way the dumbbell was used.

  3. One arm weighted oblique crunch and reach- Start with knees bent, hip width feet on the mat and one lighter (I am using a 3 lb. dumbbell) in your right hand. Your right arm is in goal post shape and your left hand is behind your head. To start, lift your shoulders and chest and then inhale. As you exhale reach your weighted elbow across to the outside of the opposite knee. The second time, extend your leg straight and reach your weighted hand up towards your lifted, straight legs ankle. Alternate the exercises on one side. * No weights- Perform the exercise without any props; just a T’d out arm with a fist.

  4. Weighted reverse crunch- Hold on to your heavier dumbbells (I am using 5 lb. dumbbells) behind your head. Extend your legs up “imaginary wall”. On an inhale, Lift your hips several inches off the mat and then exhale as you lower them back down to the mat. * No weights- Bring hands behind your head.

  5. One arm weighted oblique crunch and reach - Other side Same as #3

  6. Repeat weighted reverse crunch- Same as #4

  7. Weighted lean back/ boat russian twists- Starting with heels on the mat and leaning back as the level 1 example. Progressing to Level 2, the boat version. Keep your chest lifted when doing this exercise; if you start to collapse and round your back, then, go back to level 1. You can use one weight or two dumbbells. * No weights- bring hands together at heart center or press your hands into a yoga block.

  8. Hold boat with weights to chest / Boat kickouts with weights- I did not show the level 1 in the video; this would be holding boat pose with either knees bent or straight and hands with or without dumbbells to your chest. The kick outs happen with the weights to the chest and when you draw your knees in, then, reach the dumbbells out in front of you. * No weights- same thing just bringing your hands to heart center and then out reaching without dumbbells

  9. Weighted pulses/ weighted full sit ups- Bring one of your heavier dumbbells to your chest (I am using the 5 lb.), your knees are bent and feet are hip width distance apart. Start with level one pulses and then offer level 2 - full sit ups as you reach the dumbbell out in front of you as you rise up to seated. As you come back down bring the dumbbell back to your chest and then behind your head. Lastly, dumbbell back to chest and repeat. If this is too much or you are experiencing pain then go back to level 1. The weight will give you momentum but try to perform exercise slow with control. You will feel this in your upper core tomorrow ;). *No weights- start with hands behind your head or at your chest-stay here for pulses and level 1. For level 2 and full sit ups do exercise with hands to chest, then reach forward as you come up. Back to chest as you come down and reach behind your head to complete. Start again with hands to chest.

  10. Figure 4 oblique crunch and pulse- This is a great exercise that works your obliques and at the same time gives you a supine twist stretch. Start in figure four and holding the position, lower your foot that is on your knee to the ground. Both shoulders remain on the floor and hands are behind your head. Start with a lifted chest and shoulders. Inhale here and then exhale as you squeeze your side trying to shorten the space between your hip and lower ribs. It is not a big movement. Once you have done ten then hold the high point and pulse for ten. Repeat another cycle. Really breath into and think about the area you are working for maximum gains! There are lots of studies that show the more you focus on a body part the more effective the exercise is and the more you are actually utilizing the right muscles.

  11. Figure 4 oblique crunch and pulse -other side- Same as #10 other side


Do you have some exercises you really like? Share them on the FB group page.


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