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5 ab exercises that are better than crunches

Brynn Jinnett

Crunches are on their way out (too back rounding and too inefficient), so that means you’ll need new ways to strengthen—and sculpt—your core.

“It’s your center pillar, the powerhouse of your body,” says Brynn Jinnett, founder of the Refine Method. “Strengthening it will enable you to work harder in your exercise classes and move more safely throughout your day.”

Jinnett shares five of her favorite functional core strengtheners that are way smarter than crunches. Aim for ten reps of each and you’ll be ripped for summer. “As long as you practice pushing the plate away, too,” says Jinnett. “Diet is a big factor in the results people want for their midsection, too.”

1. Sliding Pike
Start in plank position with your feet on sliding discs. (At home, you can use anything that slides—a dish towel, slipper socks, etc.) Use your core to slowly slide your feet in towards your hands—think about pulling your glutes up to the ceiling. Then using control and your abs, slide back out.

Brynn Jinnett

2. Plank with Open-and-Close Legs
Start in plank, and slide your feet out wide and back in while keeping your back flat and your abs activated. Your legs are the only moving parts.

Brynn Jinnett

3. Sliding Forearm Plank
Place the sliding discs under your forearms and start in a forearm plank with your back flat. Slide each forearm out and back, one at a time.

Brynn Jinnett

4. Kettlebell Stand-and-Kneel
Hold a kettlebell (or a water jug, at home!) over your head, and stand with your feet hip width apart. Tighten your core and slowly lower onto one knee and then the other, and then stand back up in the same way.

Brynn Jinnett

5. Resistance Band Raise
Attach a resistance band to a door or another secure anchor. Stand with your feet wider than your hips, with the band to one side. Grasp the band with your hands together and extend your arms straight out in front of you, activating your abs all the while. Next, bend your elbows and move your fists in towards your chest. Then, raise your fists up over your head (pictured). Lower back to the starting position with your arms extended in front of you, and start again.

Brynn Jinnett

Got any training tricks that target your abs? Tell us in the Comments, below! Want to tone your tummy at Refine Method? Visit www.refinemethod.com

7 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. May 14th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    This is wonderful – thank you!

  2. May 14th, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Well of course crunches are old school. Just ask any Pilates teacher with a Spring! Core training comes in all directions with myriad props and an infinite variety of poses. Just dont’ forget to work your back muscles or you’ll end up slouched over and several inches shorter than you started out!

  3. August 28th, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    When doing ab work on a stability ball or something so u can get more movement helps the abdominals

  4. November 19th, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Great post! I used to hate abs and discovered that it was because they were always the same exercises. Now I’ve changed completely my mind.
    Thank you from Spain!
    Álvaro
    http://www.consejosfitness.com

  5. September 19th, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Very good workout routines for abs. I think this is the hardest part of training the body
    Good article and good blog
    Greetings from Spain

  6. October 10th, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    i do think this is the best in core training. i used to frown on my daughter doing the same on her yoga mat just because she marred my best view on the telly. now she’s got this beautiful bod that any woman would die for (and that includes me, her own mom!) thanks so much for the post. i’ll shun the tv from now on & get the resistance discs going, for the good it brings!

  7. November 12th, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I am impressed, at 79 these exercises will help me keep my abs and improve my overall strength. Thanks for the advise and demonstrations.
    Jack H

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