Crunches are one of the most popular exercises among those who exercise on a regular basis in order to get a flat stomach and toned midsection. But, it turns out that their time is slowly passing by and they are becoming a thing of the past.
Crunches target the muscles located in the midsection. Transverse abdominals, the deeper muscles, require a variety of exercises for an intense core workout.
These muscles run horizontally from the spine to the front, across the abdominals. They are involved in all body movements, provide stability for the spine, and are activated only with the help of full body exercises. The workout below targets these deep muscles to both strengthen and tone the midsection from the deepest muscles outward. You can either add one of two of these exercises into your regimen, or complete the entire workout. It is up to you!
1. Push-Up Burpees
This full-body exercise promotes complete core engagement and strengthening of the abs! Begin by standing with hip-standing apart and then lower into a squat, brining the hands to the floor. Jump the feet back into a plank, making sure the hips don’t drop. This is very important as this is the point when the strength of these abs comes in. Then, jump the feet back into a squat, stand, or jump back up. Do 10-15 burpees.
Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in the right hand, with the weight over the right shoulder. Keep the feet wider than shoulder-width apart and the left knee and toes turned out. Slide the left hand down the inner part of the left leg, hinging at the hips and pressing the hips to the right. Then, press back up, using the right side obliques. Do 15 repetitions and switch sides.
3. Twisting Mountain Climbers
Not only tone your abdominals, but these mountain climbers target the oblique, too. Begin on a full plank position, drive the right knee towards the chest using the lower abs and then twist the knee over the left elbow by using the obliques. Put the right foot back to the plank and do it over again, bringing the left knee to the right elbow.
4. Renegade Rows
Begin in a plank position holding dumbbells in the hands. For a more stable base, keep the feet shoulder-width apart. Row the right arm up and bring the weight to the shoulder. Lower the back down and do the same with the left arm. Do 20 repetitions alternating side to side. The goal of this exercise is to keep the hips as much steady as you can.
5. Military Planks
Start in a plank on the elbows with the feet at about shoulder-width apart. Raise the elbow up and put the hand where the elbow was previously (do it with the right side firs). Then, press through the right arm to lift to a plank on the hands and straighten the left arm. Lower back to the elbows by putting the right elbow back in the place on the hand. Do 10 repetitions using the right arm and then switch sides and complete 10 repetitions with the left.
6. Leg Lowers
This exercise targets the lower abs, but you are likely to feel all over those abs and feeling the muscles as you perform it. Lie on the back and lift the legs in the air. Lower the legs towards the floor, keeping the lower back on the mat. Keep the abdominals engaged the entire time! Pull the legs back up using the lower abs and do 10-15 repetitions.