Looking for a killer core? You’ve got so many great exercises to choose from, and you’ll never regret strengthening your abdominal and oblique muscles. These are the muscle groups that make up the lower portion of your torso and they’re responsible for holding us upright, and twisting and bending motions.
When your abdominal muscles are weak, sometimes other muscles try to take over the load and help out. Usually this means your lower back muscles aren’t meant to be prime movers. This is one of the reasons people experience low back pain.
The good news is that with regular training of your abdominal and oblique muscles, your core will be strong enough to enjoy any activity.
5 Types Of Crunches For A Killer Core
They are listed in order of difficulty from easy to hardest that you can do on the ground.
1. Toe Reaches
Similar to regular crunches, but with a little extra difficulty: Lying on your back, brace your core and raise your feet into the air, keeping knees and heels together and legs as straight as possible. Holding your legs still, reach with your hands toward your toes, being careful not to just curl your neck or spine, but rather lifting your chest directly up toward the ceiling by squeezing your abs. Return carefully to the starting position, resting your neck and head on the ground between repetitions.
2. Heel Touches
Lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, engage your core and elevate your head, neck and upper back off the ground. Squeezing from your obliques, reach toward your heel on your right, then squeeze from the other side to reach toward your left heel.
Your head, neck and upper back will remain elevated throughout this exercise, so you may need to support your head and neck by placing your hands behind your head and “reaching” with your elbows.
3. Side Scoops
Begin in a side plank or modified side plank position. Brace your abdominal muscles, and lift your top arm straight up. Twisting through your torso, but keeping your hips still and staying in a plank position, “thread” your top arm through the space between your waist and the floor. Return to the starting position.
4. Cross Body Plank Crunches
From a standard high plank position on your hands and toes, engage your core and meet your left elbow with your right knee underneath your body. Return to the starting position, then repeat with your right elbow and left knee, being careful not to twist to the side of your balancing foot.
5. Mermaid Tails
Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, lean back slightly and support yourself with your hands behind you. Tighten your abdominal muscles, keep your ankles and knees together, and raise your legs straight up in front of you.
Lower your legs almost back to the ground while turning over onto one hip. Keeping your ankles and knees together, raise and lower your legs again from this twisted position using your obliques. Return to the seated position to raise and lower your legs, then turn over onto the other hip to raise and lower your legs again.
Feel like giving these exercises a try? Follow along in real time with this great video.