Exercises that outdo crunches
Crunches are second on the “least favourite exercises” list for many of us (with burpees taking the coveted crown). The most disappointing thing about crunches is that after five sets of ten reps and an extreme and persistent burning that makes you feel like you’ll never be able to laugh comfortably again, you still don’t have a six-pack. Damn you, crunches.
So, here are some exercises that kick crunches’ butt (and yours).
- Weighted V-Sit
Lie back on an exercise mat with a weight held in your hands directly above your chest. Tighten your core and simultaneously bring your legs and torso together so that your body is in a ‘V’ shape. As your legs move back down toward the floor, allow your torso and head to go back to resting position, keeping the weight outstretched over your chest as you do so. Go continuously for 30 seconds.
- Exercise Ball Plank
Rest your elbows on an exercise ball and extend your feet back until your back is flat. Contract your core muscles and hold this plank position for 30-60 seconds. Want to make it a bit more challenging? Roll the ball back and forth using your elbows, keeping your core engaged.
- Russian Twist
With a medicine ball or weight, sit on the floor with your feet flat (easier) or feet raised (more difficult). Contract your abdominals and sit back at a 45 degree angle. Hold the weight or ball out in front of you, now twist to one side allowing the ball to gently tap the ground. Keeping your abs tight, twist to the other side and allow the ball to tap the ground gently again. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
- Planking Frog Tucks
Start in a push up position. Keeping your core engaged, your hands flat on the ground and your back flat, step your left leg forward to your left arm into a lunging position. Return your foot back to the starting position and repeat with the right foot. As you get the hang of the move, up the pace for a heart-rate boosting core burn. Go continuously for 30 seconds.
- Plank with leg lift
Start in plank position on your elbows with your feet slightly wider than usual. Make sure your abs are contracted and your weight placed evenly before lifting one leg up. Hold for 10 seconds. Now put your foot back down and raise your other foot. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for 3-5 repetitions before resting.
Put all of these exercises together in a 10-minute circuit to get a seriously effective core workout.
Want an extra challenge? Add this 6-minute ab circuit onto the end of your sesh.