Working Your Core Without Crunches

by Kimberly Hays | September 2nd, 2013 | 15 Minutes or Less, Strength Training

absWhen strength training, we concentrate a lot on our core to get those most coveted six-pack abs. Crunches are not anyone’s favorite exercise, but because they work, we do them. Luckily there are strength training exercises that we can replace those boring crunches with, and they are quick and highly effective in not only strengthening the rectus abdominis (aka six-pack muscles) but also improve all of the core muscles that are very important in your overall training for strength and balance. These exercises also get your core workout finished quickly because they work the entire core at one time.

The Overhead Squat

Using a weighted bar, hold the bar over your head with your hands outside the width of your shoulders on each side, keeping your arms straight. Squat down with your rear going back, and bend down as far as you can to your heels. The weighted bar should stay parallel with your heels as closely as possible. Slowly come back to the starting position by pressing on your heels, and repeat to complete 4 sets of 10 reps.

Pull Ups

Hold the pull-up bar with your hands going over the bar with your arms wide extending past your shoulders. Bend your knees behind you, and cross your feet. Pull the muscles in your abs and behind in as tight as you can; this is how your core gets the workout. Pull your body up over the pull up bar until your collarbone reaches the bar. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of as many as you can do without placing your feet on the ground.

Pendulum Leg Lifts

Lie on a mat on your back, and then lift your legs to a 90 degree angle keeping them straight. Slowly move your legs to the right until they almost reach the floor, and then bring them back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Be sure to hold your abs tight the whole time. You will perform 4 sets of 10 reps on each side.

Barbell Twist

Place a barbell against the wall vertically so it is easy to pick up, and then grab it in the center. Holding the bar bell straight out in front of you with your fingers laced around the bar; use your shoulders to move from one side to the other, stopping when you get back to the center. Keep your posture straight and core tightened. You will do 3 sets of 10 reps of this movement.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.