People tend to save ab workouts for like, 10 minutes before spring break when you realize your juice cleanse was pointless so you resort to a few crunches and a 30-second plank. Most people don’t know that working your abs is about so much more than getting a visible six-pack in your bikini. In fact, all the crunches in the world prob wouldn’t give you those sort of results. Having real core strength makes every other workout easier and helps you push yourself harder, burning even more calories. If you’re bored of your classic scissor kicks and can’t do another sit-up, try these underrated ab moves that will help strengthen your core and tone your abs. You won’t be able to laugh tomorrow, but like, at least you have an excuse for your resting betch face.
1. Bear Crawl
The bear crawl is a killer ab move if you’re doing it right, so make sure to feel your abs engaged the entire time. The idea is to stack your shoulders over your wrists like you’re about to hold a plank, but then bring your knees under your hips and raise them just an inch or so off the ground, keeping your back flat and your core tight. At this point you should look like a bear. Get it? Now, start “crawling” forward (Right arm/left foot, etc. Like a bear!) for as far as you can before reversing backwards. This move kills because it engages your lower abs and ensures that your butt isn’t sinking too low and taking away from your ab activation. Use the space you have, or do six to eight “steps.”
2. Army Crawl
For this move you’ll need gliders or two towels and a floor that allows you to move. Usually the regular wooden floor in the group class room of the gym is perfect. Put one foot on each glider or towel, and then get into a forearm plank, with your hands directly under your head. In the plank position, crawl with your forearms all the way forward, and then backward. You’re basically pulling your core with your arms, and you have to keep your hips square the entire time without swaying. Think about keeping a tight core and literally moving your body with only your midsection. Set a 20- or 30-second timer and do the crawls in intervals with breaks in between.
These people aren’t using sliders, because they’re poor. But you get the idea.
3. Ab Wheel Rollout
Most gyms have an ab wheel lying around, and people usually ignore it because they either don’t know how to use it or they think their own bodyweight exercises are more effective. The ab wheel is a hidden gem, and using it in your ab workouts will be an actual game changer. Start on your knees with the wheel in front of you. Hold onto the handles, and roll the wheel outward, bringing your body out as far as it can go without caving in your back. Keep your abs tight as you roll outward, and then roll the wheel back in. Start with 5 reps and then try 10 once you start building strength in your core.
4. One-Handed Plank
The one-handed plank is one of those moves that seems like it would be easy, but once you try to get into position, you realize how much control you need to hold it for even 10 seconds. Just as you’d think, this move is a regular plank, but you only use one hand, so try to do 20 seconds on your right side and then 20 seconds on your left. It’s easier to start with your hand centered in front of your chest, but try to work it back out to under your shoulder as you get stronger. The idea is to keep your body square to the ground without raising your hips on one side. It’s not a side plank, so you shouldn’t be using your obliques. The point is to engage your entire core the whole time to stay straight and tight on each side.
Pike-ups can be done on the same gliders that you used with your army crawls, but a lot of people do them on TRX bands by putting your feet into the strap handles. Either way, the idea here is to start in a high plank position and then slowly bring your feet down toward your head while the top of your head rotates toward the ground, creating an upside down V-shape with your body. Your head should end up in between your arms, looking directly behind you, almost like you’re doing a handstand with your feet supported. It’s important to NOT bend your knees and to use your abs to bring your legs in. Do 8-10 slow reps.
6. Boat Pose With Pulse
The boat pose is great for your lower abs, and adding in a pulse just activates more muscles in the area, so it’s perfect for burning out your abs at the end of a workout. Sounds fun, right? Start in a seated position and rock back so you’re basically sitting on your tailbone (you’ll want a mat for this). Raise your feet up with a bend at your knees and lift your chest while raising your arms out in front of you. Again, your body should look like a V-shape. Then, keeping your hands extended toward your feet, pulse them up and down while keeping your core tight. Try to hold for a minute, alternating between holding the pose and pulsing your hands. You’ll most likely be cursing toward the end, but eventually it’ll get easier. But like, no promises.