Crunch time? Good news: That doesn’t have to mean actual crunches. Or planks. Chosen by NYC-based trainer Rebecca Kennedy, these six moves will do an amazing job of strengthening your midsection—from all the angles.
And while there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics (after all, planks are fitness mainstays for a reason), you definitely don’t have to continue doing that monotonous abs routine you’ve done 100 times. But don’t forget—if you want to see results, you need to stick with a regular training routine that works your entire body, log cardio workouts, and maintain a healthy, balanced diet. But when you want to mix up your core workout, try these seriously effective moves, as shown by Kennedy herself.
1. Kneeling Twisting Deadlift
- Start in a kneeling position with your shoelaces on the floor and your hands behind your head.
- Drive your hips back as you lower your chest towards the floor, maintaining a flat back and braced core.
- Lift your upper body back to starting position. As you’re coming up, squeeze the glutes and drive the hips forward.
- Once your body is upright, twist your upper body to the left, then to the right.
- Continue for 45 seconds.
2. Hollow Body Hold
- Start on your back with your arms in the air with wrists above your shoulders and your legs bent at 90 degrees.
- Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.
- Extend your legs out straight, as low as you can maintain contact with your lower back on the floor.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then rest for 15 seconds and do this two more times.
- If you want an extra challenge, add a weight to this move (like a dumbbell or an 8-12kg kettlebell, as shown). Press the weight to the ceiling while holding the hollow body position.
3. Bird Dog Sweep
- Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position with your wrists above your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
- Inhale and extend your right arm forward and left leg back, maintaining a flat back and square hips.
- Squeeze your abs and exhale as you draw your right elbow to your left knee.
- Extend back out to start.
- Now sweep your right arm out to the right with your palm down, and your left leg out to the left, with the inner thigh facing the floor. Return to start.
- Do 5 reps, then switch sides.
4. Dead Bug Burner
- Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs pointing straight up to the ceiling. Feet should be flexed.
- Extend your left arm backward and your right leg forward while maintaining a flat back and square hips.
- Squeeze your abs and exhale as you draw your limbs back to the starting position.
- Now sweep your left arm out to the left, palm up, and lower your right leg out to the right with the inner thigh facing the ceiling. Return to start.
- Be sure to keep your torso against the ground throughout the entire exercise.
- Continue alternating sides for 45 seconds.
5. Split-Stance Woodchop
- Start in a split stance position with your right leg back and left leg forward. Maintain soft bend in the knees and keep your back heel lifted (you’ll be on the ball of your right foot).
- Raise a medium-weight medicine ball over your right shoulder, engaging the abs and taking a deep breath in.
- Exhale and swing the ball down towards your left hip, twisting the upper body only. Be sure to keep your hips facing foward.
- Continue this movement for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Do three sets.
6. Bear Kick-Through
- Start on your hands and knees in tabletop position.
- Now lift your knees off the floor about six to eight inches. This is your “bear” position.
- Keeping your core tight, squeeze your glutes and twist knees to the left. Kick your right leg under your torso to the left.
- Come back to your bear position and kick your left leg under and to the right.
- Continue alternating directions for 30 seconds. Do three sets.