When it comes to abs, we know that 1 million crunches doesn’t necessarily mean a ripped core – as much as we would like it to be. It takes a combination of strength training and cardio for fat loss (i.e. HIIT) to really start seeing some definition.
However, this is not to say that you should not put any effort into working on your midsection – as a strong core not only appears more chiseled when you have finally shed that layer of tummy fat, but also aids in posture and daily activities from lifting to pulling to pushing.
While many people stick to the crunch, many don’t know how to perform it correctly – also, they’re not aware that there are literally dozens of other moves that might actually be more effective – not to mention other moves that tone all parts of your abs and not just your upper abdominal muscles.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorite moves that lengthen and strengthen your obliques instead.
- Side Planks: These are a classic and help your obliques like none other. While staying in a steady position may seem less than effective, we promise you will really start feeling the burn after you’ve reached your pain threshold. Depending on your fitness and strength level, that may mean 30 seconds or 2 minutes. Start counting when it starts burning.
- Roundhouse Kicks: If you haven’t already gotten the memo, kickboxing is the bomb. It’s great cardio and certainly activates your core. Roundhouse kicks specifically require a lot of core stabilization and strength – making it a functional exercise.
- Weighted Standing Side Crunch: Tired of getting on a mat in between your reps? The weighted standing side crunch is perfect for you! Hold onto one plate of your desired weight in each hand and bend to the side using your obliques while keeping the plate close to your legs. Repeat on each side.
- Hanging Knee Raise: This workout isn’t only great for your obliques, but great for your core all-around. Keeping your forearms on the bars and your core engaged, lift your legs up with bent knees. For a more advanced version, keep your legs fully extended.
- Bicycle Crunch: This one is surely a classic, but is quite effective if performed correctly. The key is keeping your lower back on the ground, your extended leg full extended and making sure you reach your elbow to your opposite knee and not just halfway. While you’re doing this and in a side crunch position, make sure you are using enough energy to lift your shoulder blade off the ground as well. This will get easier as time progresses
- Russian Twists: Hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands (preferably 8 pounds or heavier) while sitting up and lifting your bent legs above the ground. Maintaining strength in your core, move the weight from side to side deliberately without shaking around too much. Perfect 10-20 on each side.
For more Exercise tips, check out our features here.