How many crunches do you do per session? Are you seeing results? Ask anyone who goes to the gym and chances are, they’ll tell you getting toned abs is definitely easy! You could be doing a hundred crunches a week at Snap Fitness and still not be happy with the results.
Most people who are doing crunches want to get rid of the flab and have a stronger midsection. But many back injuries can be caused by repeated extending and flexing of the spine. Crunches are hard on your back and when the hip flexors are overly tight, they pull on your lower spine, leading to pain in the lower back. But aside from putting your back at risk of a potential injury, crunches only target a few isolated muscles so doing it is not really very efficient if you’re aiming for a stronger and more toned abs.
Here are the ab workouts you should try instead:
1. Front Plank:
Go down on your elbows and toes, and don’t let your hips touch the floor or pike up. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
2. Dying Bugs:
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your arms pointing to the ceiling. Bend your hips and knees 90 degrees. Extend your opposite arm and leg out.
3. Leg Lowering:
Lay on your back with both legs facing the ceiling. Slowly lower the other leg without touching the ground, while you keep the other leg up. Gently raise the lowered leg back up and switch legs.
4. Side Plank:
Keep the shoulder away from the ear, and your elbow under your shoulder. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
5. Side Plank with Leg Lift:
Same as #4 except you need to lift one leg up. Switch sides.
6. Ab Wheel Rollouts:
Get on your knees and slowly roll out your arms keeping a flat low back position.
7. Plank with Open-and-Close Legs:
In a plank position, you will only be moving your legs for this exercise. Slide your feet out wide and back while your abs are activated and your back flat.
8. Kettlebell Stand-and-Kneel:
Hold a kettlebell over your head, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Keep your core engaged and with control, lower onto one knee. Then lower the other knee. Stand back up.
9. Resistance Band Raise:
Place a resistance band to a secure anchor. Stand with both feet wider than the hips and with the band on one side. Hold the band with both hands and, while keeping your abs activated, extend both arms straight in front of you. Then bend your elbows and move your hands towards your chest. Raise your hands over your hand. Then lower them back to starting position.
Going to the gym and doing planks, crunches and sit-ups won’t give you a flat if you don’t eat healthy in the first place. Once you change your diet and do the exercises we’ve listed, you’ll begin seeing the results that you want.
Moreover, when doing any exercise, you need to follow correct breathing techniques. Breathing correctly can make you feel energized; on the other hand, incorrect breathing can cause fatigue. It might even result in dizziness, headaches and muscle pain. The golden rule for proper breathing when working out is to inhale during the easy part and exhale during the hard part.
Here’s a video explaining correct breathing techniques: