When it comes to strengthening the core muscles, people often immediately think of abdominal crunches. And while crunches can certainly help, they're not the be-all, end-all in terms of exercises you should focus on when trying to strengthen your core. Which ones are also vital to solidfying your tummy? Glad you asked!
Keep in mind that crunches only work one portion of your core. As Men's Health points out, "Scoring high-definition abs isn't as easy as cranking out crunch after crunch. To sculpt a stronger, more chiseled core, you need the best abs workout to work the two dozen muscles between your hips and your shoulders in the many ways they function. After all, your core does more than flex on a daily basis—it stabilizes and rotates, too."
We couldn't agree more, which is why we believe a combination approach is the best way to strengthen your core, meaning you should do a variety of different core-based exercises. Pick ab exercises that challenge you (and that you actually enjoy doing), add new ones over time, and "rest" others.
Remember, certain exercises will be easier—or better suited—for some people, and using a varied system can help combat boredom and the mundaneness that sets in from doing the same routine repeatedly.
Of course, we're not suggesting you should stop doing basic abdominal crunches. You should absolutely keep this exercise in the mix. But remember, variety is the spice of life. Here's a roundup of some other abs exercises that will help you achieve a strong core.
1. The Best Abs Exercises of All Time from Shape Magazine. From barbell squats to standing lifts to the "boat pose" (taken from yoga), this article is full of alternatives to the traditional abdominal crunches.
2. The Best Exercises for Your Lower Abs from Greatist. You'll find lots of great exercises here, including slider pike, cross body climber, and rolling plank. Plus, each exercise is demonstrated through an animated gif.
3. Fitness Magazine Shares Its Top 10 Abs Exercises. You'll find more great options here, including the cobra, ballet twist, and squat thrust with twist.
4. The 25 Best Abs Exercises from Men's Health. Reverse pushup. Elevated bird dog. Running man. Archer row. These are just some of the fabulous core strengthening exercises you'll encounter in this article.5. 24 Fat-Burning Ab Exercises (No Crunches!) from Health.com. OK, so what if you're tired of doing abdominal crunches? Well, this set of 24 exercises is sure to please. It includes options from "simple to killer." 'Nuff said! This article also has some good reminders when doing any sort of core work: move from your waist (keep those hips still), tighten up, and exhale deeply.
And, of course, at Jersey Strong, we offer personal training, studio training, and group classes like Pilates and Group Core that can help you master different techniques while having tons of fun. We have over 500 classes available each week and over 12 different types of classes. If you're in New Jersey, come sweat with us!