The Best Do-Anywhere Ab and Butt-Lifting Moves

We’ll just come right out and say it: traveling, although it comes with some major perks, throws our workout routine completely off kilter. Aside from the long-haul flights and varying time zones that turn our internal clocks upside-down, and the fact that our favorite fitness class hasn’t made its way to every international post we find ourselves, finding a place to fit in our daily workout is a bit… challenging (see friend’s couch or miniature hotel room). But, in our experience, decent wifi and cushy towels are pretty much a given. So when Stephanie Petruccio of SLT, our current New York-based Pilates-esque obsession, showed us everything we can do by using just that and the space between our bed and flatscreen, well, we had to try it. Plus, that means we can have an extra helping of gelato off the dessert cart, right?

Move #1 Spoon
Wear socks on your feet (but no shoes) and place the heel of your hands on the edge of a chair behind you. Using your lower abdominals, pull your torso up while sliding your feet closer to the chair. Slowly lower your body while sliding the legs away from the chair.

Repeat slowly for 1 minute.

Move #2 Walk the Plank
Starting in a plank position, drop one arm at a time to a forearm plank, then one hand at a time, walk back up to starting plank position with straight arms. Keep the hips as still as possible and vary your starting hand.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Move #3 Standing Inner Thigh
Right side: Start standing with a dry towel beneath your right foot and your feet next to each other.  Slowly slide the right foot away from the left for a slow 4 count, keeping the weight evenly loaded in both feet. Then, slide the right foot back in towards your left leg.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Move #4 Snake
Right side: Set up a straight arm plank, wrists & shoulders in line and squared off with towel under your feet. Twist your hips by placing the left foot behind the right, lift heels and keep your hips twisted. Lift the hips slightly above the shoulders, keep lifting & bend knees drawing them in under your hips, stop, extend legs back out.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Tip: Squeeze knees together, no space between your legs. LIFTING is your key word. DO NOT pull from your hip flexors, you are using your right side/oblique to move your legs. Close up the space between your right rib cage and right hip.

Move #5 Angel on tailbone
Set up sitting with your knees bent and toes lightly touching the floor. Then, tuck your tailbone, tilt your pelvis towards the ceiling & engage your lower abdominals. As you lean back, lift your feet off the floor and reach forward with straight arms. As you are balancing on your tailbone, extend your legs forward and your arms out to the side-HOLD-bend knees back in and wrap arms around your knees.

Repeat for 1 minute. After the minute, keep reaching forward with your arms and tap your toes to the ground for 30 seconds.

Move #6 Bear
Set up in a straight arm plank position with a towel underneath your feet. Scoop the low belly (tuck your tailbone) engage the lower abdominals, bend your knees and draw them underneath your hips. Then, extend the legs back out to a full plank. Repeat for 1 minute. The key is to keep lifting as you draw the knees in and not let your hip flexors take over. Keep the tension in the low belly and let your feet slide in and out. Variation: add a push-up as you extend the legs long into a plank to add in some upper body.

Move #7 Forearm Teaser2Pike
Left side: Set up forearm plank. Keeping the shoulders square, twist the hips by placing your right foot behind the left and lay your feet on their sides (heels down). (If you can not do this move on the sides on your feet, you can do this on your toes)
From here, keeping the legs straight, lift your hips slightly using your left oblique. Think about closing the space between your left rib cage and left hip. Then, come back to the starting position. Lift for 2, down for 2.

Repeat for 1 minute. 

This is a very tiny movement (small contraction) but gets deep into the oblique when done correctly. Modification: This can be done in a modified plank position, on your forearms with the right knee stacked on top of the left knee, hips twisted, shoulders square.

Move #8 Reverse extended crunch
Place towel under knees and set up a modified plank position on forearms (hips drop forward by sliding the knees back) Keeping the upper body still, draw the knees under your hips using the low belly to round the hips up. You want to round all the way through the upper back and tuck your head between your arms. Lengthen the legs back out to the modified plank position.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Move #9 Right “Bungee”
(with unopened water bottle behind knee)

Grab an unopened water bottle, kneel down and place the bottle behind your right knee. Set up on all fours. Knees under hips and elbows in line with your shoulders. Squeezing the bottle gently, lift the right knee up until it is line with your hip. For two counts ring the right knee down hovering above the ground and lift back up to your hips.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Move #10 Scrambled eggs
(with pulses/lifting arm)

Right side: Set up on all fours on straight arms. Straighten and lift the right leg behind you. Press a little more into the right hand to keep the hips and shoulders square. Keeping the leg straight, open the leg to the right side, pause, bring the leg back behind you to the starting position squeezing the glute.

Repeat for 1 minute. After the minute, hold the straight leg behind you, lift the left arm and reach forward and pulse the arm and leg up squeezing the glute, engaging the core, and pressing down with the opposite hand for 30 seconds.

Move #11 Left Side lunge
(with side carriage kicks)

Stand with the towel underneath the right foot. Transfer the weight to the left leg, keeping the right leg straight, lift the heel on the right foot so just your big toe is on the floor. Reach your hips back (stick your booty out) and bend your left knee keeping the weight to the left as you lower into the side lunge. As you rise, reach your left hip to the left side and squeeze your glute at the top.

Repeat for 1 minute. 

After the minute, hold the side lunge for side carriage kicks for 30 seconds. Keeping the weight to the left, bend the right knee in using the inner thigh & extend the leg back out straight.


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