Having a strong core is vital for posture and just quality day-to-day living, and it seems everyone loves working their cores to death. While we’ve repeated that 500 crunches won’t give you those 6-pack abs (you can’t spot train fat loss), it’s always a good idea to keep the core strong and sturdy!
Spot on ab exercises
People also get tired with the same old crunches. Personally, I am about crunched-out for life. Back when I was a wee little dude (hold the comments), crunches were what I pretty much always and only did for abs.
There are so many other movements and variations out there that we can do instead that will also strengthen the core but also keep you interested and engaged!
Let’s break down 6 not-so-often performed ab exercises to blast your core and improve your core strength!
Heel touchers, tuck crunches, leg holds, wide mountain climbers, pushups with tuck-in, tic-tocs
Here is a great move that starts out in the crunch position with your feet about a foot away from your butt, raise your upper back/shoulders blades off the ground and it up the entire time. Work back and forth by bending at your sides (your abs will be contracted the entire time) touching the outside of each heel. This is definitely a fun one!
Like I said, I’m about done with normal crunches for a very long time. This is an alternative to the normal crunch. Lay on the floor, set up like a normal crunch, but contract your abs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor with your knees at a 90 angle (so calves will be parallel to the floor). From there, perform a crunch (make sure to get your shoulder blades off the floor each time).
Maybe the easiest exercise to explain on this list. You basically lay on your back, place your hands under your glutes for added support, and lift your feet 2-4 inches off of the ground and hold that for a predetermined amount of time. To make it harder remove your hands and place them at your sides! Trust me, after about 30 seconds of holding this position you will definitely feel the burn!
Wide Mountain Climbers:
Some of you may already be doing mountain climbers and if you do…you know that they suck…but in an incredibly effective way! With your body weight on your hands and feet, get to a rhythm of bringing each knee up towards your chest. You want to do this at a fast pace and get into a good heart-pounding rhythm. Here’s the twist; bring your feet out wider then your shoulders to add some variation to the exercise!
Pushup with Knee Tuck-In:
Here’s a variation of a plank that also helps us build upper body strength. Perform a normal pushup (keep your body flat and hands about shoulder width apart). After the pushup bring each knee (one at a time) up towards your chest in a slow, controlled fashion. During this tuck-in, you will be holding a plank in the pushup position. This move is great for strengthening both the core and the upper body!
This is a killer exercise that I learned from Trainer Ashley Swoboda at the previous gym I worked at and I’m glad I did!
For this exercise we are going to elaborate again on the plank. Set up like you are going to do a plank: with your body weight on your elbows/forearms and toes. But this time spread your feet 3-4 feet apart. Hold the plank position while working your feet back and forth between each other. Lift your right foot off the ground move it over and touch the left foot, then return it to it’s starting position. Then do the same with the left foot. You will get in a rhythm like a clock pendulum…tic-toc…back and forth…tic-toc!
For this workout there isn’t a specified amount of reps to do. Instead perform these ab exercises for 3 sets, doing each exercise for 30 seconds performing as many reps as possible with PROPER form for each of the ab exercises.
Try it and see how it goes. Trust me, your abs will thank you and definitely hate you for it!
On top of that, many people are looking to take their core training up a notch with simple home fitness equipment.
If that’s what you are looking for, check out this thorough ab machine review from Rigor Fitness to get a better idea of what might fit your needs.