How to get abs without crunches

How to get Abs without Crunches

Ever found yourself rolling your eyes while doing crunches?  (I raise my hand)  That’s because most of us just aren’t that enthusiastic about crunch – or sit up – ab exercises… and there’s good reason, too.

Crunches Don’t Get you Abs

You probably already feel like you have abs… but they’re hiding under a layer of stubborn fat.   Many people think they’ll get a coveted set of “six-pack abs” from doing endless crunches.  The problem is that a six-pack is revealed through melting that layer of fat… and fat loss happens when you follow the Right Meal plan for your body type and goal… and cardio.  Not, from crunches.

Crunches aren’t Good for Your Back

Imagine you’re holding a credit card.  Visualize using your finger to repeatedly flex and extend the credit card… Eventually, you’d wear out the plastic and change the shape right?  That’s exactly what happens to your spine when you, repeatedly do crunches or sit-ups.  It’s completely possible to put damaging (and permanent) strain on your back, by repeatedly doing crunches on the floor.

Each of your spinal discs is only able to support a limited number of bending motions over the course of your lifetime before you get low back pain, a disc bulge or a disc herniation.  Crunches involve lying on your back and repeatedly bending and extending your spinal credit card, they place excessive strain on the part of your low back that has the most nerves and is most prone to wear and tear.

Perhaps you’ve heard that if you pick a heavy object off the ground, and you don’t want to hurt your spine, you should “Bend at the knees, and not at the back.” But think about crunches this way: Anytime you do a crunch, you’re bending at the back — over and over and over again!

And that’s not all: A crunch simply doesn’t burn as many calories as necessary for you to get rid of any fat that is obscuring your stomach muscles — so it’s an inefficient way to get your gut looking good.

Ultimately, there are better (easier and pain-free) exercises that can help you get noticeable definition and strengthen your back and core.  (Yassssss!)  #WorkSmartNotHard

That’s why I’m excited for you to watch today’s episode of CCtv.  In it I share how you can get abs without crunches or back pain.  Plus, I’ll give you tips and exercises that will help you get abs, avoid back pain and increase your core strength.

They’re perfect for anyone, who wants to flatten their stomach, from beginners to advanced exercises, even those with back problems.  After you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to know what you think about this post.

How to get abs without crunches (or hurting your back)

Pick 4 to 6 of the following exercises.  Repeat each one from 30 to 180 seconds – or do 15 reps (on each side) – to complete 1 set.  Complete 3 full sets for a full ab workout.

Crunchless Ab Exercises

These 4 basic planks will form the foundation of all the other moves on this list.  Get these down first, and as your strength, balance, and endurance improves, move on to the more challenging variations.

Beginner Planks

Basic Plank #1:  Forearm Plank

Starting from standard plank position, lower yourself until you’re resting on your forearms. Keep forearms parallel to each other with hands flat on the ground or clasped together if that’s more comfortable.

Basic Plank #2:  Side Plank

Starting in standard plank position, bring your legs together until your heels touch. Lean to your left while lifting your right arm up toward the ceiling until you are balanced on one hand.

Basic Plank #3:  Standard Plank

When it comes to planks, form is everything. Paying close attention to form not only ensures you’ll get a great workout, but also that you’re protecting your body from injury. Start in tabletop position, kneeling on the floor with hands directly below your shoulders. Lift your knees until you are supporting your weight on just your toes and hands.  Spread your fingers to make a wide, stable base.  Line up your shoulders over your hands and heels over toes. Hold your body in a straight line from the top of your head down to your heels. Hold your core in tight, being careful not to let your stomach sag or your back round out.

Basic Plank #4:  Reverse Plank

Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and arms at your sides. Place hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers pointing towards your feet. Lift your hips as high as you can, aiming for a straight line from chin to toes. You may discover here that your shoulders aren’t as flexible as you thought; just take it slow. And, you know, try not to cry.

Marching Plank

Take your plank on the move by adding an up-and-down motion. Assume standard plank position on hands and toes. Slowly lower right arm down to your forearm then bring your left arm down as well so you are now supported by your forearms. Then place your right hand on the ground and begin to push your body back up, allowing your left hand to follow. Repeat, allowing your left arm to lead. Sing “Follow the Leader” to keep your rhythm. Ignore any weird looks at the gym; they’re just jealous.

Rocking Plank

From a basic plank, rock forward on your toes until your shoulders move past your hands. Then push your shoulders backward until your heels extend beyond your toes. Move slowly and in a controlled manner to challenge your balance, coordination, and shoulder strength. This move can be done on your hands or forearms.

Single-Leg Plank

Start in standard plank position. Lift one leg up behind you, keeping your body flat and both the extended and supporting legs straight. Repeat on the other side.

Side Plank With Leg Lift

From a side plank, press down into the floor with your bottom foot while lifting your top leg as high as you can go without bending at the waist (i.e. without dropping your hips). Try it on your forearm first for more stability, then work up to doing it on your hand.

Knee-to-Inside-Elbow Plank

You know the drill: Start in standard plank position. Slowly bring your right knee underneath and across your body, toward the inside of your left elbow. Again, just get it as close as you can without dropping your right shoulder and hip. Repeat on the other side.

Knee-to-Outside-Elbow Plank

Start with a standard plank. Slowly bring your right knee toward the outside of your right elbow. You’ll be tempted to look back to see how close your knee is—don’t do it! It will make you round your shoulders and drop your hips. Just get it as close as you can without losing your form. Pretend like you’re Spiderman trying to climb up a building…  If you can touch your knee to your elbow, you get extra credit and are excused from Friday’s final exam. Repeat on the other side.

Plank With Feet on Stability Ball

Kneel, facing away from a stability ball. Lift one leg behind you and place your shin or foot on the ball. (The ball will likely have rolled away from you at this point, as balls do. It helps at first to position the ball in front of a wall so it can’t go far when it escapes.) Lift your other leg onto the ball. Straighten out into a plank position. Use your forearms or hands, depending on the height of the ball and how well you’re able to balance.

Reverse Plank Hip Lift

Start by sitting on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and your arms at your sides. Plant your hands firmly on each side and lift your hips up as high as they’ll go. Lower them slowly toward the ground (without touching it) and then lift them again. To make it a bit easier, start with bent knees and work up to keeping your legs straight.

Reverse Plank Leg Raise

Start in a reverse plank with your hips lifted and head facing forward. Lift one leg as high as you can without bending your waist. Repeat on the other side. Take it slow; you’re not doing the can-can.

Plank Hip Dips

From standard plank position, slowly dip both hips to the right side. Go down as far as is comfortable without touching the floor. Lift back up to a plank and repeat on the other side. On the last one, feel free to drop to the floor and banana-roll a few feet. Wait for applause; you earned it!

Side Plank Thread-Through

From a side plank, lift your top arm straight up, as if you are giving your imaginary friend a high five. (If you have a real friend, feel free to really high-five them.) Bending slightly at the waist, reach down and “thread” your top arm through the armpit gap between your side and the floor. You should feel a deep side crunch. Return to your original position and repeat on the other side.

Rowing Plank

Holding a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand, get into standard plank position. Make sure your weights have flat edges or you won’t be able to balance on them. Bend your right elbow and slowly lift it up toward the ceiling, keeping your elbow in tight by your side. Lower the weight and repeat on the other side.

Bird Dog Plank

Begin in a standard plank. Lift your right leg straight behind you, then lift your left arm straight in front of you. Keep your body in a straight line from fingertip to toe. You’ll soon discover that this works your core and your balance in a major way.

Chaturanga Plank

From standard plank position, making sure your shoulders are directly above your hands, slowly lower yourself until your body is in line with your arms. Keep your elbows touching your ribs and your core tight so nothing touches the floor except your hands and toes. Imagine the ground is hot lava (or, you know, any other surface you wouldn’t want to come into contact with. Floor of a movie theater, anyone? Get creative—it will make the time go faster!)

Extended Plank

Add some extra shoulder work to your standard plank by extending your arms as far in front of you as you can while still maintaining proper plank form.

X Plank

You don’t have to be one of the X-Men to do this variation (Although it wouldn’t hurt! We’ll keep your secret). Start in standard plank. Move your legs out laterally until your feet are planted wider than hip-width apart. If this feels tough enough, you can stay in this position (a Y plank, perhaps?). You can add some extra upper-body work by walking your hands out wider than shoulder-width apart until you’re in a full X.

So there you have it.  Crunch-free exercises that will strengthen your core, without killing your spine.  I hope you liked this post.  If you like it, or think that it could help someone you know, please share it.

If you liked this post you’ll love my Crunch-free Ab Workout and my post on How to Exercise your Lower Abs (without crunches).  I think you’ll find them both very helpful.

It works, if you work it.  So work it!  You’re worth it!





Would you like a complete exercise program that’s perfect for the results you want?  I’ve got your back! Learn more about my Reshape Exercise Programs designed to get you the EXACT results you want here.

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