With so many programs and fitness leaders incorporating crunches and variations of them in their workouts I bet you are asking, why #NoCrunchAbs? Take a moment to read my colleague, Kim Vopni's, article for the Globe and Mail: Six Reasons You Were Right to Hate Crunches. When you are done, meet me back here ...
Interesting, right? My core has not seen a single crunch since early 2013. Yes, that is my stomach in the photo above *blush*. You CAN sculpt amazing abs without a single crunch. How, you ask?
Here are three exercises you can use to replace crunches, or do a set of each one after the other, then repeat.
Dead Bug with Lat Pull-Over - 10 repetitions
Secure a band behind you, and lie on your back. With hands over your head, grab the band handles, arms should be straight with light tension in the band. Legs should be straight up, over your hips. Exhale, engage your core using your core cue*, and lower your right leg as you simultaneously bring your arms up overhead and down to your sides keeping them straight through the entire move. Inhale, release your core and return to start. Repeat lowering left leg to complete one repetition.
Anti-Rotation Band Walkouts - 10 repetitions per side
Anchor a band at shoulder height, with your right shoulder facing the anchor. Grab the band handle with both hands, arms straight out in front and lower into an athletic squat position. Walk 2 to 3 steps to the left and back to start to complete one repetition. After 10 repetitions, switch sides.
Plank with Leg Lift - 20 seconds work / 10 seconds rest repeated 4 times
Get into a push up position. Using a Tabata Timer or stop watch, lift your right leg and hold for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat lifting your left leg. Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 4 times. Option: plank from forearms.
*A Core Cue is a visualization word determined during a Core Confidence Training assessment to help properly engage your core during exercise.