If you still think that doing crunches will score you amazing abs, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Flattening your belly requires multi-muscle exercises that target all the regions of your core—upper and lower abs, obliques, transverse abdominis, and lower back muscles.
And furthermore, crunches aren’t the most exciting of belly exercises.
So, if you’re now convinced that crunches aren’t effective flat belly exercises or if you’re just bored with your sit-up routine, here are 10 fun and effective moves to mix up your workout and tone your midsection!
1. Lying Overhead Reach
- Lie on your back with your hips and knees both at 90-degree angles, using your low abs to press your lower back into the mat. Raise your arms toward the ceiling, keeping the elbow joint slightly bent.
- Reach your arms overhead, bringing the dumbbells to tap the dumbbells on the floor above your head. Do not let your back arch away from the floor as your lower the weights.
- Raise your arms back to the starting position to complete one rep.
- Do 15 reps to complete a set.
2. Ball Pass
- Lie on your back holding an exercise ball above your chest, extending your feet up toward the ceiling.
- On an exhale, move your arms and legs away from each other, lowering both toward the ground. Inhale to bring them back toward each other, and transfer the ball from your hands to your legs.
- Then lower your arms and legs toward the floor away from each other.
- Bring them back together, transferring the ball back to your hands.
- Continue like this, completing 10 to 20 reps.
3. Table-top to Reverse Pike
- Start off sitting on your bum, so your hands are planted eight inches behind you. Bend your knees and place your heels about a foot away from your hips. Make sure they are hips-width distance apart.
- Inhale and lift your hips off the ground so your torso is parallel with the floor and your arms are straight. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and your ankles underneath your knees, so make small adjustments if you need to. Lower your head behind you to increase the stretch in your chest and neck.
- Hold for a complete breath, and then keeping your arms straight, exhale to lower your hips and straighten your legs, so your hips are hovering above the floor. Engage your abs and try to keep your spine long as you balance on your heels and hands. After a complete breath, inhale and push yourself back into the first position.
- Do three sets of 12 to 15 reps, flowing from one to the other, pivoting on your hands and heels.
- To make this move more challenging, hold each position for longer.
4. Flutter Kicks With Resistance Band
- Sit on a mat or carpeted floor. Loop one handle of the resistance band on either foot. Hold on to the middle of the tube with both hands and lie on your back.
- Draw your navel toward your spine and press your low spine into the floor to protect your lower back, then lift both legs up so they are almost pointing straight up toward the ceiling.
Holding the band securely, scissor your legs up and down one at a time, starting with the left leg. Move slowly and point your toes. Each time your right foot lowers down counts as one set.
- Complete 10 to 15 sets.
- To make this move more difficult, lower your legs so they are about six to 10 inches above the floor. Make sure to keep your abs scooped when you work with your legs close to the ground.
- Scissor your legs for another 10 to 15 sets.
5. Elbow Plank
- Start face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
- Push off the floor, raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows.
- Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.
- Keep your back flat — don’t let it droop or you’ll be defeating the purpose. Picture your body as a long straight board, or plank.
- Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute, as you get stronger.
- Repeat three times.
- Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your hips and knees at right angles with your palms pressed into your thighs just above your knees.
- Pull your abs to your spine keeping your ribs and pelvis still as you lengthen your right arm and leg out until they are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your torso and spine completely stable as the arm and leg move.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the left side to complete one rep.
7. Plank and Rotate
- Begin in a plank position holding a five-pound dumbbell in each hand, keeping your wrists stiff to protect the joints. Open your feet a little wider than hip distance.
- Lift your left hand to the ceiling, twisting through your entire torso. Your pelvis will rotate, but keep it level.
- Bring your left hand back to the floor, and repeat this action on the other side to complete one rep.
- Do 10 to 15 reps to complete a set. Use 5-8 pound dumbbells.
8. Bird Dog
- Get on all fours, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Remember to keep abs engaged and keep your back flat.
- Reach out with your right hand and extend your left leg out behind you.
- Round your back and head to connect your right elbow with your left leg under your body. Extend right hand and left leg back out.
- Repeat for a total of 15 times, then switch sides.
9. Ball Pike To Plank
- Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your shins on the ball.
- Do not allow your lower back to arch. Keep your feet, pelvis, and shoulders in one long line.
- On an exhale, pull your abs deeply to your spine and use your abs to fold your body in half, pulling the ball forward toward your hands as your pelvis moves up in the air.
- Your toes will move onto top of ball and your back will become perpendicular to the floor like a handstand. Allow your head to fall between your arms, keeping your neck long and in line with your spine.
- Lower yourself back into a plank position and do not allow your pelvis to sag below your shoulders.
- Do 10 reps for two to three sets.
10. Plank with Bunny Hop
- Begin in a plank position with feet touching.
- Pull your abs in, and jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Your torso will twist to the right.
- To complete one rep, jump your feet back to plank.
- Repeat on the other side and continue alternating sides for 20 reps total.