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4 Ab Workouts That Aren't Crunches

Maybe you just really hate crunches. Or maybe you’ve been doing crunches for eons and aren’t seeing the results you want. It turns out that they your old gym teacher was wrong and crunches really aren’t great for your abs. For one thing, the motion wreaks havoc on your back. It’s the same motion that occurs when people reach down for something and “put their back out.” It’s spinal flexion and can cause herniated discs. So if you want to workout your abs, then you need to try something else. Like cardio and intervals to lose body fat. And then in between sessions, try these workouts for abs that won’t harm your back.

  1. Bird-dog/Bird-dog crunch: Bird-dog is a yoga pose on all fours. By balancing and adding a crunch motion, you get a deeper workout on your abs.
  2. Planks/plank variations: Start with an elbow plank and then work up to a full plank. Side planks work the muscles on your obliques and further variations, like jack planks or bird-dog planks are harder and more intense.
  3. Pilates 100: A classic pilates pose isn’t easy but does provide great results. Settle into boat pose, keeping your legs bent if you’re a beginner, then pulse your arms.
  4. High knee march: Standing upright, with your hands behind your head, bring each knee up, as you move slightly forward.

These are just a few of the basic exercises that you can do in place of crunches that don’t require gym equipment so that you can do them anywhere. If it’s been a while since you’ve done an ab workout, or worked out at all, start with basic forms and then try more advanced versions. Adding weights, including kettlebells or medicine balls, can also boost the intensity, once you’ve managed to learn the basics or advanced variations. From these four center moves, you can add dozens of variations so that you never get bored or lose your focus.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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