Abdominal Exercise Alternatives To Crunches

If you want to work your abdominal muscles but hate crunches on the floor, you’re in luck because there are so many alternatives to traditional crunches on the floor.  This article outlines 5 of my favorite alternatives to crunches.

When my clients master crunches on the floor, one of the first exercises I teach them from there are crunches on the ball.  So many people actually feel less back strain and neck strain when they use a stability ball for crunches.  One reason for decreased neck strain is that the angle of your body changes when you get off the floor and onto the ball.  If neck discomfort is one reason you hate crunches on the floor try them on the ball and you will notice a significant difference.

Another reason crunches on the ball are a great alternative to crunches on the floor is an increased range of motion through the spine.  When you move through a greater range of motion, you will get increased muscle work in your abdominals.

The second alternative to crunches on the floor is the plank exercise.  The plank exercise is a popular yoga move that has crossed over into fitness.  The plank is an isometric exercise balancing on your elbows and toes.  Isometric simply means that you hold one position for 10-60 seconds.  The plank is great for developing core stability, and it will strengthen your abdominals, shoulder girdle, and hip girdle.

The third alternative to crunches on the floor is seated medicine ball Russian twists.  In the seated twists, your knees are bent and your body is slightly reclined.  By reclining, you engage your abs.  Another benefit of the seated position is that there is very little stress on your neck.  If you are a beginner, it is okay to perform seated twists with no added resistance, or if you’d like a challenge use a medicine ball or weight to this exercise.

The fourth alternative to crunches on the floor is side bends on a 45 degree hyper extension board.  Most gyms have a slanted board that can be used for both back extensions and side bends.  Side bends help to strengthen the obliques and can really challenge your oblique muscles through a large range of motion.  I’d recommend side bends over side crunches on the floor because of the increased range of motion and intensity.

The fifth alternative to crunches is hanging knee raises on a Captain’s Chair.  Again, when you get off the floor you’ll have almost no pressure on the neck.  In order to perform knee raises on the Captain’s Chair you need to have some upper body strength to support yourself, but if you have decent upper body strength you can really focus on your abdominals during this movement.

There are literally thousands of ways to strengthen your abdominals, so if you hate crunches you can still get a great ab workout using the above alternative.  Strong abdominals are so important so don’t let hating crunches stop you from strengthening your core.

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