5 Exercises that are Better than Crunches

Core Stability Training

The classic plank is a good place to start as it uses your body as resistance.

Start by lying facedown. Then, prop your body off the ground using your toes and your elbows/forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders. Your abdomen should be braced, your back should be straight, and there should be a straight line from your ankles through your knees through your hips, to your shoulders. Try holding this position for 30-45 seconds. You should feel contraction (and maybe even a shudder) in your abdomen.Note: you shouldn’t feel pain in your lower back during this exercise.

 

Sprint Training

Speed is what you’re pursuing as you engage in Sprint Training.  Be sure to warm up properly.  Then, try this beginner sample speed session:

  • 3 x 200 meter sprints with 90 seconds recovery
  • 3 x 100m sprints with 120 seconds recovery

 

Med Ball Training

Medicine Balls have been around for a long, long time, and these proven instruments of delight have been creating 6-packs for just as long.The beauty of the Medicine Ball is that they simulate functional rotational movements (think swinging a sledge hammer).Try swapping out crunches/sit-ups in favor of the Russian Twist:

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, your feet 6 inches off the floor, your back straight, holding a Medicine Ball 6 inches from you chest. Rotate your torso to the left and slam the ball on the floor on the left side of your body.Then, rotate your torso to the right and slam the ball onto the floor on the right side of your body.Try performing this continuously for 30 seconds.

 

Kettlebell Training

Training with Kettlebells is one of the most effective ways to up your metabolism and burn fat in pursuit of a coveted 6-pack.  The bread-and-butter move for Kettlebell training is the 2-hand Kettlebell swing.

Start with the Kettlebell on the floor 6-12 inches ahead of where your toes are lined up.  Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.  With your back perfectly straight, bend at the hips and the knees to grip the Kettlebell with both hands.  Keep your arms straight and swing the Kettlebell to underneath your bum.  Then, powerfully extend both your hips and knees at the same time.  The Kettlebell should follow the laws of momentum, and will swing (pendulum-style) until resisting gravity at about chest level, as both arms are extended.  Then, absorb the momentum of the Kettlebell as it descends in the same pendulum-style by bending the hips and knees, until it comes to momentarily rest between your legs.  As the set endures, do not let it come to full rest.  Rather, repeat the movement of the Kettlebell, as it tracks between being extended in front of the chest, and coming to change direction between your legs.

Be sure to keep your back straight, and your glutes and abdomen contracted throughout the movement.

 

Proper nutrition

Heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen?” All your hard work won’t pay off if you aren’t eating properly. Nutrition is the most important method for 6-pack training. Stay tuned for a whole blog post on this!

Not to say that crunches aren’t a good exercise but these could add some variety to your workout routine!

 

By Al Richardson, your personal MVP trainer

March 10, 2017