Crunches are often the go-to ab exercise, but it turns out they’re not actually that effective — they only work the superficial muscles that span the surface of your stomach. And unless you start out with a strong core, building up the little guys won’t help you see more definition.
To truly tighten your midsection and build the core strength that protects you from injury, try these six abs moves designed by Chelsea Dornan, NASM-certified personal trainer and instructor at Uplift Studios in New York City, to work better than crunches from the get go. Repeat each exercise for 45 seconds to one minute in the order listed below, and repeat the entire set up to three times to feel the burn in your upper abs, lower abs, and obliques.
Begin in a forearm plank. Keeping your spine long and your neck neutral, inhale as you draw your abs in toward your spine, and push your hips up toward the ceiling. On the exhale, bring your hips back to starting position. Repeat.
2. Hip Dips:
Begin in a forearm plank. Draw your abs in toward your spine, and keep your upper body stable as you twist to stack your left hip over the right hip. Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat, this time twisting left and stacking your right hip over your left. Return to start. Repeat, alternating sides.
3. Standing Lunge to Twist:
Stand with your shoulders drawn down, abs engaged, and hands clasped together in front of you with your elbows close to the body. Keeping your right knee in line with your right ankle, step your left leg back and lower into a reverse lunge. Twist to the right. Return to center, then stand as you bring your left foot back to meet the right one. Repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg and twisting to the left side. Continue alternating sides.
4. Leg Dips:
Lie on your back with your abs drawn in, hips tilted up toward the ceiling, and feet flexed. Keeping your arms by your sides with palm facing down, press into the floor as you lift your legs straight up toward the ceiling, keeping them as straight as you can. When your ankles are over your hips, pause, then slowly lower your legs towards the floor, making sure your lower back does not come up off the floor. (To make this move slightly easier, bend your knees or lower one leg at a time.)
5. Twisting Mountain Climbers:
Begin in a plank position with your palms on the floor and your shoulders directly over your wrists. Exhale as you twist your hips and draw your right knee toward your left elbow. Pause, then bring it back to starting position. Repeat on the other side and continue to alternate legs.
6. Side Plank With Twist:
Lie on your right side and place your right forearm on the floor. Keeping your hips, shoulders, and feet stacked, brace your core, lift your hips up toward the ceiling as high as you can, and stretch your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. Without touching the ground, slowly lower your hips, then return to the starting position. Keeping your core tight, twist from the waist as you swing your left arm down and underneath your body. Return to starting position and repeat this combination for up to one minute before switching to the other side. (To make this move slightly easier, stagger your feet or place your top foot on the ground in front of you.)
Courtesy: Elizabeth Narins