5 Ab Exercises That’ll Have You Saying, ‘See Ya Never, Crunches’
Real talk: Crunches suck. The form is surprisingly difficult to do correctly, they’re seriously uncomfortable and it just never feels like we get the results we want from them.
So screw them. There are countless other core exercises out there that can help us strengthen our lower backs and tone our abs without feeling bored and straight-up unmotivated. In fact, we decided to pick out five of our favorites and highlight them below.
For a seriously scorching ab workout that skips over crunches entirely, power through these moves in circuit form and repeat the circuit three times. (We know, you’re gonna be sooore tomorrow.) Oh, and you only need a dumbbell for one of these moves, but if you want to go the 100 percent equipment-free route, feel free to just use a large, full water bottle instead. Now get sweatin’!
1. Mountain Climbers Plank Jacks Combo
Ah, the best of both worlds. Start in a high plank position with your core engaged and your wrists, elbows and shoulders all stacked on top of one another. Hike your right foot up toward your left shoulder under your torso, and then quickly switch feet and hike your left foot up toward your right shoulder before briefly returning to high plank. Here, jump both of your feet out wide, maintaining an engaged core, and then jump back to the starting point. Repeat that plank jack one more time. Now piece the entire thing together and repeat it for 30 seconds.
Talk about strength and control. Start by lying down on your back with your legs stretched out long in a narrow V shape and your arms reaching above your head. Engage your abdominals to lift your shoulders and legs simultaneously, creating an upright V shape with your body as you touch your toes. Return to the starting position without using momentum or just dropping your body back to the ground. That’s one rep. Repeat these beasts for 30 seconds.
3. Standing Dumbbell Rotations
This one will sneak up on you. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your core engaged. Hold a single dumbbell with both hands at chest height with your arms extended out in front of you. Using your obliques, twist your torso to the left, keeping your hips facing forward, and hold for a second. Then return to the starting position. Repeat the same motion on the right side to complete one rep. Crank out a total of 10-15 reps.
4. Elevator Leg Raises
Time to give those standard leg raises a boost! Start by lying down on the floor with your legs stretched out straight and your arms down by your sides. (For additional support, you can place your hands directly underneath your hips.) Engaging your core, hip flexors and legs (and keeping your lower back pressed into the floor), lift your legs straight up so that they are perpendicular with your torso. Then, using your lower ab strength, pike your hips directly up in the air to lift your bum off the floor by a couple of inches and then slowly bring it back down. Lower your legs all the way down to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds.
5. Lateral Plank Walks
Think you’ve finally mastered the plank? Time to prove it. Start in a high plank position with your core engaged and your wrists, elbows and shoulders all stacked on top of one another. Firing up those core muscles, keep your torso perfectly in line as you lift your right hand and foot simultaneously and shift them out to the right. Then lift your left hand and foot and shift them to the right so that you’re back in your standard high plank. Then reverse the move by taking your left hand and foot to the left, followed by your right hand and foot to the left. Continue alternating directions for 30 seconds.