penny barnshaw garage fitness girl

6 No Crunch Exercises to Strengthen Your Core


Are you trying to strengthen your core? A lot of people dread ab workouts for building their core strength, and it’s really not suprising when so many of them consist only of sit-ups and crunches!

While it’s true that crunches are a very good exercise for strengthening your core, they can definitely be boring and repetitive. Thankfully, there are many core exercises you can do that are super-effective to help you mix things up, without doing another crunch!

Another reason why many people don’t like crunches is because they’re not doing them correctly, leading to sore necks and a lack of progress. So, before I share my favourite no-crunch moves, it’s a good idea to make sure you know how to do a crunch properly.

How to do a crunch correctly

  1. Lie down on the floor with knees bent and feet planted hip-width apart.
  2. Place your hands crossing over your chest, or with your hands behind your head, with your fingers grazing your ears (this helps you avoid the issue of accidentally pulling your head forwards).
  3. Relax your shoulders and tuck your chin slightly toward your chest.
  4. Exhale and lift your head, neck and shoulder blades off the floor, curling inward.
  5. Inhale and slowly return to the start position.

Still totally over crunches? Don’t worry, try these moves instead in your next core workout!

The Best No Crunch Moves

1.Standing Ab Rotation

No getting up and down off the floor with this move! When you do a standing ab rotation, grab a relatively heavy weight and think about twisting from the waist, rather then letting your hips twist all the way around. Aim for 2-3 sets of 20 repetitions.

2. Dumbbell Side Bend

This is another effective move with no floor work. Dumbbell side bends are great for targeting the obliques, which crunches aren’t really great at hitting. Grab a moderately heavy to heavy dumbbell and aim for 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps.

3. Dumbbell Woodchop

The dumbbell woodchop is a great move for working your abs, and it gets your heart rate up, too! (I personally love getting some cardio in while I’m doing my ab work). The trick is to really focus on bracing your core, as well as engaging your quads and glutes. You will feel this one right through the back of the shoulders, too. Aim for 2-3 sets of 16-20 reps with a moderately heavy to heavy dumbbell.

4. Bear Dumbbell Pull-Through

The bear dumbbell pull-through is a really effective move for working your abs, as you have to use your mid-section to keep your balance. You can also perform this one in a plank position. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining good form. Aim for 2-3 sets of 20 reps.

5. Dumbbell Russian Twist

This move is good for people who want something a bit more challenging than a regular crunch. You need to be careful, though — put your feet down if you feel like you’re collapsing in your lower back. Don’t go fast here. Really concentrate on the rotation to feel it working. Use something moderately heavy so you can keep good form and aim for 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps.

6.Floor Superman

The superman exercise targets the lower and upper back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles. This one is really strong, so you can choose to just lift and lower if needed. If holding the position as shown, then aim for 2-3 sets of 20-40 secs.

Want a well-rounded core workout?

You can find all the above exercises incorporated in my latest follow-along Strong Back & Core workout 👇

It’s only 30 minutes, and you’re going to feel the burn tomorrow!

Don’t forget to sign up to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss any of my follow-along workouts. You can also sign up to my newsletter to say up-to-date and receive free monthly workout calendars. Have an amazing week!

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