I’ll be honest.  I love a sneaky exercise.  You know….the ones that look so simple, but are surprisingly difficult.

When my clients say, “Wow! That was hard!,” I know it was an unexpected challenge:)

Here are some of my favorite exercises that are harder than they look.

3D Plank

I’m a fan of all exercises that work the core without doing crunches.  The traditional plank is ok, but our bodies move in 3 planes.  The 3D Plank challenges the abs with lateral and rotational movement.

Dead Bug with Ball








This version of the Dead Bug really cranks up the intensity.  You hold the ball by squeezing your arms and thighs together.  I guarantee you’ll feel this one in your core!  Just make sure you keep breathing.


Yes, adult crawling is a thing.  We abandoned crawling after learning to walk, but should reacquaint ourselves with how hard it actually is.  The trick is to keep your knees about an inch above the ground.  Stabilize your hips so they don’t rock side to side.  Crawling works your core, your legs, and gets your heart rate up!

Pallof Press

I adore the Pallof Press.  It looks like an arm exercise, but really challenges the side of the torso.  The pallof press targets the same muscles as the side plank.  But you don’t have to get down on the floor.  You’ll also feel the outside of your hips when doing it.

For more awesome core exercises, check out Crunch Free Core!  It’s a free 14-day core training program you can do anywhere with minimal equipment.  Get it here.

Banded Bent-Over Rows

I recently saw this exercise on BJ Gaddour’s Instagram page.  It immediately fires up the upper back muscles!  I might even switch to this one over my favorite Pull-Aparts.  Strong upper back muscles help improve posture.  You don’t need much resistance at all to feel the bent over banded rows!  Make sure to keep tension on the band throughout each rep.