There are many of us out there who are keen to achieve the toned, washboard stomach that all the models show off. But few of us are willing to put the work in with the most boring but necessary exercise to achieve this goal: crunches! Why are they such a hated exercise? And is there any way to avoid them, or replace them with more exciting ab exercises?
In this article, we’ll let you in on the secret of some alternatives that can put you well on the road to getting that flat abdomen you want, without resorting to the boring old routine we’re so sick of.
Ab Exercises You Can Do At Home To Avoid Crunches
If you’re not a big fan of the gym, or don’t have much spare time, we recommend that you choose a routine you can follow at home. And there’s no need to be apprehensive – it doesn’t involve any crunches! Using a few simple routines, you can enjoy exercise, lose weight and get the body you want, as long as you are constant and make sure to also follow a balanced diet.
There are no excuses for skipping physical activity, especially when it’s so simple. A group of teachers and coaches has designed a routine of 6 ab exercises that can be completed in 40 minutes, and which should be practiced 3 times a week. These (if they are met to the letter) replace any session in the gym.
You’ll need to make sure you have some basic conditions in place be able to perform, and take full advantage of, these exercises:
- A spacious and well-ventilated area (the lounge can be a great option, although you may have to move your couch out of the way)
- Early in the day (finishing at 9 in the morning at the latest)
- Stretch your joints for 5 minutes before starting
- Stretch your muscles at the end for another 5 minutes
Now let’s take a look at the details of the exercises that will not only help you avoid doing boring sit-ups, but will also shape your figure are:
Walk Up And Down Stairs
If you don’t have any stairs in your house you can use a bank as an alternative. But even better is if you have a stepping machine at home. The most important thing is that you maintain an energetic pace, and don’t pause.
Practice this exercise for 15 to 20 minutes to burn approximately 200 calories. Climb fast and descend slowly to avoid injuries, and don’t forget to keep your back straight at all times.
Maybe you’re not a great fan of these either, but these are a great option to pursue if you’re looking to achieve well-defined abs. The contractions that your stomach muscles perform when you’re doing squats are a perfect way of making it flat. For every 100 squats, you burn 300 calories – and just remember, to burn that same amount doing crunches, you’d have to complete a whopping 1000!
To perform this simple exercise, keep your back straight. Take the handle of a broom or mop and hold it up behind your back. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees as much as you can. The idea is to be able to hold the posture for a few seconds, and then raise yourself up again very slowly.
Start with a series of 10, and do no fewer than 50 each day of training. When you have mastered the technique, you can increase to sets of 15 repetitions. You can also add weights, using water bottles filled with sand, for example.
Gym-Based Alternatives to Crunches
Are you one of those people who loves to lift weights, or work out in a social environment full of people? Do you like to go to the gym to make friends, and be able to follow a routine according to a teacher’s instructions? If so, these exercises are probably more appropriate for you – but be sure to discuss them with your coach before starting.
Load-Bearing on a Gym Ball
This simple exercise will help you achieve a greater range of contraction and stretching without bending or twisting the spine too much, something that can be quite dangerous and painful.
Push-Ups on a Board and Ball
Studies have shown that this exercise is 30% more effective than doing the usual sit-ups on the floor. In this exercise, a board is placed on top of a ball to act as the point of support for the hands when doing the push-ups.
This is a unique exercise that allows you to work your oblique muscles – you don’t have to do lateral crunches to achieve toning. In addition, it provides greater abdominal strength and stability while keeping your lower back healthy. Just don’t forget that it’s important to keep your back straight when using the climber.)
Gym Ball Push-Ups
This exercise takes advantage of the gym ball, and serves to work the lower part of the abdominal muscles as well as the obliques.
You lie face down on the ball, stretch out your arms and put your hands on the ground. Then, you do push-ups with your legs stretched. This exercise helps to protect your back, and improves balance and strength in the extremities.
Also known as “knees to chest,” this exercise will have you doing full contractions of your stomach muscles. They may be a bit difficult at first, but you little by little you’ll find yourself able to raise your legs more and more. The most important thing is to make sure you’re not lifting your torso off the ground at any point.
The Cherry on the Cake – The Exercise That Replaces 100 Crunches!
Naturally, we all love the idea of being able to show off the belly of someone who does thousands of crunches every week. But the idea of actually having to actually do them might make us pause. But luckily, fitness experts have answers for everything related to routines, and different ways to get more out of each exercise, depending on our objective.
The technique is known as “static exercise,” and basically involves simply getting the toes, elbows and forearms to bear the entire weight of the body. But the area you’ll feel it most when holding your torso in position is the abdominals!
With 3 repetitions of 60 seconds each, 3 days a week, it will be as if you were doing almost 1000 crunches. Nothing wrong with that, right? The steps to follow are:
- Position yourself as if you were about to starting doing push-ups: face down, with your legs and toes touching the floor.
- Bend your elbows and put your forearms in front of your head. Rest on the mat so that your hands or fists are level with each other.
- Lower your head to about 30 cm from the ground level and angle your head downwards.
If you’re in the correct position, the only parts of your body that will be touching the floor are the tips of your toes, your elbows, your forearms and your hands or fists. Hold this position for 1 minute. Then rest for a while, and repeat twice more.
Main image courtesy of © wikiHow.com