I’m the kind of person that loves abs but hates crunches–I think it’s safe to say I know I am not alone in that statement. When I used to teach abs classes in college, everyone groaned when the word crunches came out of my mouth. Needless to say, that is not the reaction any instructor wants to hear. I made it my mission to avoid crunches at all costs but had to find a way to build the strong core people came to class for. What I’ve come to learn is that it’s not as simple as doing 1,000 crunches a day. The transverse core muscles that sit below the obliques and run across the core must be strengthened first to create a really solid base. Without that, doing crunches just isn’t enough. Here are some at-home exercises you can do to strengthen your whole core and build a strong foundation.
Okay, time to get started. All you need is a light set of weights! I recommend not going any higher than five pounds. Trust me, it will feel heavy at the end.
1. 20 Dumbbell Renegade Rows
From a plank position, bring the weight close to your body and lift it to your oblique and back down. Repeat this 20 times on each side.
2. 20 Superwoman Crunches
On all fours lift the alternating arm and leg straight out holding the dumbbell in your working hand. Repeat this 20 times on each side.
3. Side Plank with 15 Dumbbell Flyes
I’m doing them on my hands here, but the forearm is the more ‘proper’ way of doing it. Find whatever feels most comfortable for you!
4. Plank Series
Hold a plank (forearm or on your hands) for 15 seconds in each position:
– Forearm Plank
– Right leg lifted
– Left leg lifted
– Right arm ‘threads the needle’. Keep right leg lifted for more advanced movement.
– Left arm ‘threads the needle’. If you kept your leg lifted on the other side, do it here too.
– Right arm and left leg lifted
– Left arm and right leg lifted
– Forearm Plank
Hold the weight in your hands and draw it close to your toes as you come up in V position.
6. 20 Lying Bicycle Crunches with Overhead Dumbbell
Hold the weight just off the ground, but don’t let it touch.
Do those 6 exercises once a day and you will definitely feel tighter in the core. It might take some time before you start to see results, but don’t get discouraged! Just keep at it and remember to take things to your level.