In fact, core strength will improve your overall balance and stability, as well as bringing a greater level of ease into the regular daily activities that you move through. Honestly, who doesn’t want more defined abdominal muscles? Focusing on core exercises will not only give you more defined abs, but it will also greatly increase the likelihood of reaching your overall fitness goals.
Regrettably, aside from the occasional set of sit-ups, many of us find it easy to neglect our core strength. After all, sit-ups are boring and, in most cases, they just don’t feel all that effective.
Here are five alternative core exercises that are much more fun and effective than traditional crunches.
- Cable Torso Twists
For this exercise, you can use either a cable or an elastic band. Holding your cable, or band, at arm’s length, simply begin to twist your torso from side to side. Be careful not to rotate too far, as doing so might actually hurt your back.
A good rule of thumb is to visualize your belly button pointing straightforward, at 0 degrees. From there try not to twist much further than 30 degrees in either direction. Don’t worry; you won’t need too much twist with this one. You’ll feel it!
For this exercise, begin by holding a dumbbell, medicine ball, elastic band, cable, or any other tool of your choice above your shoulders, keeping your arms extended. From there, rotate down and across your body to the outside of your hips. Hey, they don’t call it the ‘Woodchopper’ for nothing!
- Front Planks
For this exercise, simply bring your body into the plank position and hold for the time period you desire. In this position, your belly should be facing down, your body should be fully extended, and elbows should be supporting upper body while toes support the lower body. If you get bored with simply holding this position, you can tap your feet or alternate reaching forward with each arm.
- Stability Ball Plank
The flat-belly plank position is a great alternative to the traditional crunch because it uses all of your abdominal muscles without requiring any extension or bending of your spine.
If you find that the front plank position is too difficult, you can alter the exercise by placing your feet on top of a stability ball and supporting your upper body with your hands in a pushup position. As you build core strength, you can begin to roll yourself forward on the stability ball, eventually being able to support your lower body with just your toes.
While your renewed focus on your abdominal muscles is great, you also must remember not to neglect the muscles of your lower back. To make all of your strength training the most effective, you must be balanced. Easing into a nice back bend will help you strengthen all the muscles around your lower spine. Lie on your back and slowly, gently move your hips up towards the sky, potentially rolling your shoulders underneath you, or even placing your hands right above your shoulders and extending up through them to push your hips even higher.
We hope you enjoyed these alternative core exercises and find a renewed commitment to core strength through the use of some of these exercises.