You don’t have to do crunches to get toned, sexy abs. In fact, I haven’t done them in 20 years, which is why I wanted to share three exercises that will strengthen all of your abdominal muscles, improve your posture, and create a sleeker torso and flat stomach, all while boosting your confidence. While crunches are fundamental in aiding your six-pack muscles, they can cause a lot of strain on your back and can lead to disk damage.
By engaging in moves that activate your deep abdominal muscles, you are strengthening your torso and supporting your spine. Plus, these moves will actually help your abs pull in toward the spine to protect it, and give you that flat stomach, if you train them right.
So if you enjoy workouts with maximum results and minimal time, this routine is for you. Learn the three moves to add to your fitness rotation for defined abs without the crunches below.
Plank Knee to Chest with Optional Push-Up
Feet on Wall Twist
The Move: Cannonball Drop
How to: Start behind a stability ball and roll forward by walking your hands on the floor until your knees are in the middle of the ball and hands are under your shoulders. Then bring your knees in toward your chest and relax and drop your head. You will drop down onto one hip and then lift your hips up and drop to the other hip, keeping your knees in toward your chest the whole time. This is a challenging exercise, and you can do little drops until you are strong enough to fully drop your hip onto the ball. Keep the knees close and don’t let them get away from your chest.
The Move: Plank Knee to Chest with Optional Push-Up
How to: Start behind the ball and roll forward by walking your hands on the floor until your knees are in the middle of the ball and hands are under your shoulders. (You can go all the way until just your feet are on the ball, yet keep in mind the farther forward you go, the more advanced and unstable this becomes.) You will then lift one leg off of the ball and bring your knee toward your shoulder. You can add a push-up, and as your knee is as far toward your shoulder as possible, you will be at the bottom of your push-up. Repeat all of your repetitions on one side and then switch or alternate legs if needed. Note: if this exercise is too challenging with the instability of the ball, you can also do it with your feet on a stationary object and then advance to the ball when you are ready.
The Move: Feet on Wall Twist
How to: Sit on the top front of the ball with your feet on the wall and wider than hip-distance apart. Sit up tall and then do a small pelvic tilt so your lower abs are drawn in and your lower back is supported by the ball. You will then pass the ball back and forth using the muscles under the shoulder blades. Be mindful to not let your abs pooch out and to not straighten and bend your knees. You will keep them in a relatively fixed position, and the movement is from your waist.
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