Ryan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at yhealthandwellness.wordpress.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performing crunches to develop the abdominals is a hotly debated and controversial topic in the fitness world. Whether you are for or against them, they shouldn’t be the only way you train your anterior core musculature. As local Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Tony Gentilcore explains here, “If you actually look at the anatomy, you’ll notice that our “core” is more of a cross-hatched web (as noted by Mike Robertson), and its main functions are resisting trunk extension, posterior pelvic tilt, and transmission of hoop stress (rotary or anti-rotation).” In other words, your abdominal and oblique muscles do so much more than produce spinal flexion. So why not train them in other ways too?
Here are five alternative abdominal exercises to crunches.
- You can also try this tall kneeling version:
- Try the TRX version too:
Barbell Roll-out to Push-up:
- Can omit the push-up portion and just do the barbell roll-out
- Keep a neutral spine as you roll-out while bracing the abs and contracting the glutes
Pike to Roll-back
- If adding the roll-back is too difficult, just try the pike initially
Stir the Pot
- Push the hips forward until a modified plank position is achieved, brace the abs, squeeze the glutes, then roll the elbows in one direction, keeping the rest of the body as still as possible, then roll to the other side
- For a more advanced version, perform this exercise from your toes, but wipe the sweat off your arms first or you might do this