Getting tired of the sit-ups? Here are the better alternative ab exercises that can strengthen your core even more.
On the gym floors, a few exercises tend to have the ultimate supremacy. The squat is for the legs and glutes. Rows are for the arms, and the sit-ups are for the abs and core.
Given their effectiveness, they are surely deserving of all the praises, but if that’s all you do, it’s time to seek alternatives.
In exercise routines, you need variety, especially for your core.
And there is far more to effective abs and core workouts than the sit-ups and crunch varieties.
A different variety of ab exercises help you engage your core muscles from different angles and in different planes of motion.
This not only keeps your abs and core muscles in a top killer shape but also functional and mobile.
If you have a weaker back, repeatedly practicing sit-ups can lead to injuries and back pain over time. Adding ab exercises that don’t stress your back can help protect your back while still developing strength in your core.
Here are 7 abs exercises to achieve flat abs and build a stronger core without sit-ups.
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1. Sit-Up Alternative #1: Plank
- Get down on all fours with your elbows on the floor. Position your elbows right below your shoulders, and knees directly below the hips. Facedown and keep your head relaxed throughout the exercise.
- Tuck in your abs and draw your navel toward your spine. Lift your knees off the floor to come up. Adjust your body so it forms a straight line from head to heels.
- Don’t curve your back and drop the hips. This is the neutral spine position.
- Hold this plank position for 30-60 seconds.
2. Sit-Up Alternative #2: Side Plank
- Lie down on the floor on your left side. Position your elbow directly under your right shoulder. Stack your legs, knees, ankles, and feet together.
- Engage your abs and push your right elbow against the floor as you lift up your glutes and hips off the floor. Form a straight line from your right shoulder to your right foot.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you can hold it with the proper form. Return to the starting position. Switch sides and repeat.
3. Sit-Up Alternative #3: Bicycle Crunches
- Lie flat on the floor with your lower back on the ground. Lift the shoulder blades off the ground.
- Place your hands behind the back of your head, then left your knees up and hold at the 90-degree angle to our quads.
- Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground. In one motion, turn your upper body to the left and bring your right elbow towards the left knee.
- Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
- Continue alternating by bringing the opposite knee to the opposite elbow. Aim for 15-20 repetitions per side.
4. Sit-Up Alternative #4: Reverse Crunch
- Lie flat on your back and place your hands by your sides and palms on the floor. Contract your abs and bend your knees slightly. Lift both of your feet up off the floor.
- Raise your hips and pull your knees to your chest without moving your upper body at all.
- Return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 8-10 reps.
5. Sit-Up Alternative #5: Russian Twists
- Sit n the floor with your knees bent and your feet should be kept together and slightly elevated above the ground. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Make sure to keep the spine straight and not rounded.
- Stretch your arms straight out in front of your chest with one hand on top of the other.
- Contract your abs and slowly rotate to the right as far as you can, pause then reverse this movement all the way around to the left as far as you can. That is one rep.
6. Sit-Up Alternative #6: Leg Raises
- Lie flat face-up with your legs straight and arms on your side.
- Bring your feet together and raise them up until your legs are perpendicular to the floor.
- Keeping your back straight and flat, lower your legs with control.
- Complete 10 reps.
7. Sit-Up Alternative #7: Mountain Climbers
- Start in a high plank position, forming a straight line from your neck to the heels.
- Bring your right knee to your chest as quickly as you can.
- Then, return your right foot to the starting position as you simultaneously bring your left knee to your chest.
- Continue to alternate in this pattern as fast as you can for 1 minute. Then, take a 30-second break. Repeat this pattern for 10 rounds, 2-3 times per week.