Crunches used to be the staple exercise for getting great abs, but the traditional old crunch has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Exercise experts, personal trainers, and physical therapists all agree that traditional crunches aren’t the best way to go about getting washboard abs, and, if done improperly can actually cause injury. We’ve collected 10 abs exercises that are better than crunches for you to try.
1. Reverse Crunches
Okay,technically the word crunch is in the name, but if you are searching for non-crunch ab exercises, this one should be in your routine. Lay on the floor with your arms to your side. Lift your of the floor, keeping the knees together. During the series of reps, your legs should not touch the floor again. Lift your legs towards your torso and hold, then lower them back to your starting position and hold. This counts as one rep.
2. The Frog
The frog is an abs exercise that might not seem like it works the abs, but it does. To complete this exercise, place yourself in a traditional push up position. Your body should be straight, and your hips should be pulled up and inward. When you have the correct position, pull your left leg forward, towards your midsection. You should bring your leg up as far as you can. Return it to the start position and repeat with the right leg. Do three sets of 10 reps of this exercise.
3. Standing Crunches
You can crunch your abs together while standing, which is better for your back, and maybe more effective than traditional crunches. To do this, stand with your legs spread so they are about the same width as your shoulders. Bend your knees, tighten your abs and tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for a few seconds, then tilt your pelvis backwards, and hold again.
4. Core Circles
Stand with your legs spread to the width of your shoulders and bend your knees to engage your abs. Place your hands on your upper tight, pointing your fingers towards each other. Twist your torso towards the left without moving your hands or legs. Return to center, then twist your body to the right.
5. The Ballerina Twist
One of the best ab exercises out there, the ballerina twist engages the oblique muscles. To do this move, simply late on the floor with your feet extended and pointed. Lift your torso up and place your hands behind you, so they are propping you up. Lift your left arm over your head and twist your torso and arm towards the right side of your body. Return to your starting position, then do the same thing with your right arm.
6. Egyptian Core Circles
This move, similar to the core circles, is a great exercise to add to your routine. To complete this exercise, place your feet shoulder width apart, and lift your arms over your head. Your hand should be touching, palm to palm, over your head in a V shape. Keep your knees bent, and rotate your hips in a half circle to the left. Return to your starting position and rotate your hips in a half circle to your right.
7. The Pull Up
Sure, it may seem old school, but the pull up remains one of the most effective ab exercises. To complete this exercise you’ll need a pull up bar. Simply grip the bar in an overhand grip. Bend your knees behind you and pull yourself up, focusing on keeping your core tight as you lift yourself. If you can’t complete a traditional pull up, and you have access to a gym, start by using an assisted pull up machine, most gyms will have the device.
8. Knee Raises
While this exercise also requires a machine, many experts argue you can use items in your home to complete this movement. In the gym, use the knee raise machine. Stand with your back against the platform and your arms firmly resting on the arm rests. Pull your legs upwards with the knees bent towards your chest.
9. The Medicine Ball Slam
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and hold a small medicine ball above your head. Keep your core tight and through the medicine ball towards the ground. This will engage the core muscles and build stronger abs, but be sure to use a lightweight medicine ball that does not have bounce.
10. The pendulum
Lay on the ground with your arms to your side. lift your legs, with knees together, so you create a 90 degree angle. Swing your hips and your legs to the left, lowering them towards the ground. Hold the position, then return to center, and repeat on the other side.