You may be wondering—how is that even possible? Well, while you probably associate deadlifts and squats with booty sculpting, they’re actually awesome for toning your core, too. That’s because both squats and deadlifts are total-body exercises that engage your abdominal muscles, says Albert Matheny, R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and advisor to Promix Nutrition. One of your abdominal muscles’ main functions is to prevent torsion, compression, and strain on your spine; so as you squat and deadlift, you engage your abs in order to support your spine, he says. In these moves, your abs are working isometrically—i.e., they’re tensed but not moving—similar to when you hold a plank. So if you hate abs days (we feel you), know that you can avoid them altogether if you’re doing the right total-body exercises.
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