Sometimes, a girl just wants a flat stomach without crunches, but are there any crunch free abs exercises? Yes,there are some great crunch free abs exercises that work the lower, upper, and outer abs for a fully flattened effect. Here are my favorite no-crunch exercises that pack a major punch in the result arena!
1. Boat Pose
Leave it to a yoga enthusiast to have the first of the crunch free abs exercises be yoga based. This pose is great for working both the upper and lower abs as well as the back and shoulders. Lay on your back and raise your legs, torso, and arms off the ground until you are in the shape of a "V." Your arms should be straight out above your head and the only part touching the ground should be your tailbone. I try to hold this for one minute to start, then increase the time as desired.
2. Plank Twist
Plank position is great for the upper and lower abs. To make this position even better, try adding a little twist - literally. Once you are in plank, rotate your hips to the left so your right hip is almost touching the ground, then rotate to the right. Continue twisting from one side to the other for a minute, then add more time as desired. This will give you oblique abdominals a major workout and is not so bad for the shoulders either.
Oh goodness will this work all your abs! Start laying on your back with legs about two inches off the floor. Rotate legs in a counterclockwise motion to the right side, straight up, then to the left, holding each position for about fifteen seconds. Complete 2 or more rotations, then alternate so your legs are going in a clockwise rotation for the same amount of time. The lower you can get your legs to the ground while keeping hips even, the more of a workout you will get.
It may be surprising, but knee-ups are great for the lower abs. The cardio helps burn fat while the lifting motion tones those hard to reach abdominal muscles. Start with legs hip width apart and begin lifting one knee up, then the other at a jogging speed. For best results, bring your knees up to the level of your belly button and keep the back straight.
5. Plank Rolls
This will be the last plank exercise on the list, promise. I love doing these after a jog or a cardio circuit. Start in plank position, then roll forward so you are on your tip toes and your shoulders are at least five inches further forward than your hands. Hold this position, then roll back to starting. Continue this forward and backward rolling motion for at least one minute- the longer, the better.
6. Mountain Climbers
I like to think of these as knee-ups done horizontal. Get into plank position and alternate bringing the right leg, then the left in towards the chest. Try to do this as fast as possible without lifting your bum into the air. If you would like a bit more of a burn, lowering into plank position on the forearms will be your ticket. The lowered version is much more intense and will work the oblique abdominals as well.
7. Down Dog Leg Extensions
These are great because they will work your back and core while stretching your legs. Start in down dog position with the back straight and hips even. Bend the right leg and arch your back so your forehead and knee are touching, then extend the leg upwards as high as you can while keeping the hips even. I like to alternate between doing ten on the right, then ten on the left at the end of a hard workout or yoga sequence.
These are a great alternative to crunches that will work the same muscles, but with a bit more umph. Start laying on your back with your legs straight out and feet a few inches off the ground. Alternate bringing the right leg up about 45 degrees, then the left. Try doing this for one minute straight. If it feels too easy, lower the leg’s or lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Lifting the head will increase the resistance on the upper abs while lowering the legs will increase the resistance on the lower.
One of the best things about ab workouts are all the different exercises that will get us to our goals. With all the options out there, there are bound to be one or two favorites. What are some of your favorite ways to work the abs and get fast results?