Crunches and Sit-Ups
Press pause on your typical crunches and sit-ups routine and try these unique variations instead. Each of these exercises make the traditional moves anything but boring. Plus, they work your core in new ways, while hitting all sides.
It may look simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Keep your legs fully extended, knees straight and your back against the floor as you lift and lower your feet to the ground (or as close as you can go without arching your back).
16. Bird-Dog Crunch
Three things you need to remember here: Keep your hips square to the ground, your shoulders in line with each other and your back flat. And the one thing that’ll help you nail all three? A strong core.
17. Roll Up
Have a ball with this fun move that has you rolled up in a ball, moving forward and backward on a mat. The bonus to working your abs this way? You also get a nice back massage!
The key to good form during a glute bridge involves engaging your abs. And that’s what you’ll do during this move — and then some. After doing a regular hip raise, straighten your legs out into a hollow hold to get even deeper into your core muscles.
Go with the flow in this downward dog routine. You’ll target the front, back and side of your abs by moving your knee straight into your chest, back out behind you, then to your opposite elbow.
20. Jackknife Crunch
Start with your arms and legs straight out, then crunch up into a V position — only moving one arm and one leg (opposite sides). Your obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, along with your hips and quads, will all get a workout.
21. Sit and Reach
Make your breath the focal point of this exercise and it becomes a moving meditation, while still working your abs. We’ll always take a mind and body workout in one.
22. Tabletop Control
Borrowed from the Pilates playbook, you need to maintain the c-curve (belly button pulled in toward your spin) to reap this move’s ab-sculpting benefits. Then, with a Pilates ring squeezed between your thighs, move your knees in toward your chest, then back down toward the ground to add additional muscle-building.
23. Crab Reach
Strengthening the sides of your core — aka your obliques — makes bending, spine stabilization and twisting all easier. This rock-star-like extension targets those muscles, while also working the back of your body.
Like a hollow hold on the ground, but taken to the next level, this exercise calls for the TRX duo trainer. Holding on to each ring, you’ll have to use your abs to keep your body up. If you’re feeling super confident, pick those feet up off the floor.
26. Half Get-Up
Transitioning from the floor to your feet takes some core stability, and this exercise has you moving on up. Keep squeezing those abs so you don’t lose solid body alignment and it’ll make the get-up easier.
Another variation to the glute bridge, you need to brace your core to lift your hips to the sky. Keep your abs engaged as you separate your knees and target your glutes even more.
Next Up: Standing Ab Exercises