Crunches have long been a staple in our workout routine, both at home and when we hit the gym, but some trainers have argued that the movement is more of a time suck than a fat sucker. First things first: Crunches only target your upper abs, says trainer Lynn Manning. “Most people doing crunches do them too fast or they use their neck, back, or leg muscles to try and pull their bodies up. Most people lift too far up, tuck their chin into their chest, and don’t breath properly. To be honest, I see very few people do these properly to get any benefit … so I don’t include them at all in my ab and core routine,” Manning admits. As cold weather (and holiday season) approaches, focus your time instead on these trainer-approved ab workouts that can also be done in the comfort of your living room. Problem solved.
This exercise works all of the core muscles and helps with overall balance. For the advanced version, hold your body in pushup position with both palms on the ground. For a simpler variation, lower your forearms to the ground with both your elbows and fists flat on the ground. Flex your abdominals and squeeze your glutes while holding the position.
To work your obliques, twist your body from plank to one side so you are now balancing on one arm with either your elbow or hand on the floor’s surface.
V-Sits with Oblique Twists
Sitting straight up, raise your legs off the ground and bend your knees slightly, then lean back at an angle, bend your elbows, and twist your arms and core to each side of the body.
Laying on your back with your arms placed underneath your bum, kick your legs straight up and down—like a scissor, as the name implies.
First, lay on your back with your body straight from head to toe. With your arms fully extended above your head, pull your arms and legs up and in to create a V-shape. Pull your arms and legs down to finish the movement.
For an oblique stretch and core exercise, lay on your back with your legs in a 90-degree table top position, then rotate your legs from side to side.
For one “routine,” Manning recommends doing 3-5 different exercises with 10-20 reps of each move with minimal to no rest. Then, she says, “Rest 60 seconds after you’ve completed the whole set, and then repeat it another 1-2 times through.”