6 Ab Exercises For Toned Abs Without Crunches

6 Ab Excercises For Toned Abs Without Crunches

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about toned abs: getting them is an uncomfortable process. It hurts. It’s supposed to. You can’t build muscle without a certain degree of pain, and that goes for your abs too. When you do exercises like weight training and Hiit, the resistance you put on your muscles creates tiny little tears. These tiny tears are responsible for the muscle pain you feel after a good workout. Your body heals those tears in 24 to 48 hours, and you get new, stronger muscle tissue. This is what creates the definition, tone and bulk in your muscles over time. 

So if you want more defined abs, you’re asking for more muscle bulk and definition, which is going to require a little effort and pain. There’s no way around it. I just wanted to clear that up first in case you thought I was offering effortless miracle abs. I wish I could give that to you (and myself), but that’s impossible.  

The good news is that you won’t have to do crunches. While crunches are a pretty popular way to get abs, there is always more than one way to get what you want. In order to see results, it’s important that whatever you are doing is sustainable. If you hate crunches, it’s unlikely you will keep doing them. I can personally attest to that and it’s no way to get abs. A better path to success is to try other core exercises that you actually enjoy and will keep doing.

You will see results if you do ab exercises that you actually enjoy

Also, crunches are overrated. They only strengthen a limited range of your core muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis at the front of your midsection. Your core is actually made up of a large group of muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques at your sides, deep muscles that support your spine, your lower back muscles, pelvis, glutes and hips. 

There are far better ab exercises that will give you better results than crunches alone. These core exercises will get you a stunning set of abs if you do them regularly. Let’s explore some of them.

About These Exercises

These are beginner abdominal exercises, so anyone can do them. They will target your abs more comprehensively than crunches, so besides getting awesome ab definition, you will also enjoy some bonuses, like better posture, core strength and stability. Yay for better posture!

If you want sexy ab results fast, you will need to do two of these exercises every day for a month. If you just want to maintain a strong healthy core and you’re not too concerned about the aesthetics of abs, twice a week is enough. 

Bird-Dog

To Perform Bird-Dog:
  • Get onto all fours on the floor with your hands beneath your shoulders and hips over knees, as if you are doing Cat-Cow in yoga class.
  • Lift your right hand straight out in front of you without bending the elbow.
  • At the same time, extend your left leg straight out back behind you. Your lifted leg and arm should be directly in line with your flat back. Hold this briefly, then bring your leg and arm back in, touching your elbow to your knee.
  • Extend the leg and arm back out without touching them to the ground in between. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on each side.

Standing Bicycle Crunches

Standing bicycle crunches are almost like a standing version of the bird-dog crunch
To Perform Standing Bicycle Crunches:
  • Stand up straight with good posture and feet hip-distance apart.
  • Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out.
  • Interlace your fingers if you like.
  • Connect your opposite elbow and knee by lowering right arm and lifting your left knee at the same time.
  • Return the leg and arm to their original positions and repeat on the other side. Do 3 sets of 5 reps on each side.

Seated Leg Lifts

This one looks easy, but it isn’t! Maintaining a solid straight posture engages all of your core muscles, and even very fit peeps will feel their core working hard
To Perform Standing Seated Leg Lifts:
  • Put your hands down by your sides next to your bum for support.
  • Keep your body firm and upright. Now raise one leg about 15cm off the ground without breaking your posture. Hold this for 5 seconds and then slowly return your leg to the ground.
  • Repeat on the other side. 
  • Set a timer for one minute and keep alternating your legs until the timer goes off for a full set.
  • Rest for the 30 seconds and start again.
  • Do five sets with 30 seconds in between each set.

Forearm Plank

Planks are awesome for strengthening your core and the forearm plank is a great entry-level exercise to get you into planks
To Perform a Forearm Plank:
  • Get into plank position with your forearms parallel propping up your body at the front.
  • Don’t let your back collapse down towards the floor or arch up towards the ceiling.
  • If you’re doing this, your core may not be strong enough yet, and you should start with your knees on the ground rather than being propped on your toes.
  • Don’t let yourself off the hook though! Challenge yourself to stay on your toes if you can hold the plank for 15 seconds without breaking form.
  • Hold for 15 seconds to start and as you get stronger, up the time to 30, 60 and 90 seconds as you progress.
  • Do 3 sets of these planks with 30-second breaks in between each set.

Spider Plank

The spider plank adds some serious oblique action to the mix
To Perform Spider Plank:
  • Get into a classic plank position with arms fully extended rather than resting on the forearms.
  • Your hands should be positioned directly under your shoulders on the ground.
  • Lift one of your legs, bend your knee and bring that knee around the outside of your arm to touch your kneecap to your elbow on the same side.
  • Return that leg back to its original position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat 5 times on each side for a full set. Aim for 3 sets total.

V Sit (or Boat Pose)

V-sit is a great one to finish up your ab workout is the V sit. A still but powerful pose that will use up any energy you have left. It also puts you in the perfect position to collapse on the floor when you’re done.
To Perform a V-Sit:
  • Start by laying on your back on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms at your side.
  • Lift both your legs together and your upper body until only your butt is left touching the floor and your body forms a V shape.
  • Have your arms straight out in front for extra stability and balance.
  • Hold for 15 seconds then release to the floor.
  • Take a 10-second break, then repeat 3 more times.
  • Keep upping your time by 15-second increments as your core gets stronger.

That’s it! These exercises will get you killer abs without a single sit-up. Do 2 or 3 of these every day to get killer abs fast, or mix and match for a core strength routine that you can do 2 – 3 times a week for strong core maintenance.

Get killer abs without a single sit-up

A strong core comes with a lot more benefits than an impressive looking 6 pack. A strong core is pivotal to good posture, biomechanics and injury prevention, which will make your body a wonderful place to live in. Keep that core healthy and strong!

Do you love or hate crunches? Share in the comment below.

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