Do you ever get tired of just doing crunches over and over, but you don’t know what else to do? Here are some great options and variety from PT Jackie!
Stability ball V-ups:
- Laying on your back with arms and legs extended, hold a stability ball with hands.
- In one motion, bring arms and legs up to meet each other into a V position with both upper and lower body raised off mat.
- Place ball between feet and slowly lower legs toward the floor as you return arms to fully extended position.
- Hold your core in tight during the raising and lowering phase of this exercise ensuring not to arch the back.
- Repeat movement by returning to V up position and grab ball with hands and, again, lower legs and arms.
If you don’t have a stability ball, you can substitute a pillow.
Supine laying marches:
- Lay on a mat on the floor. Place arms alongside of the body. Bring both knees up to 90 degrees ensuring to engage (contract) your core to support the lower back.
- With feet flexed, slowly lower one leg and tap the floor with the heel.
- Return the leg to 90 degree position.
- Repeat the above movement with the opposite leg.
Ensure the back is not arched during this exercise.
Up/down planks (for total core conditioning):
- Start in a push up position, but keep your hands directly under your shoulders instead of outside of your chest.
- Keep your legs straight behind you and your feet no more than 6 inches apart. You are balancing on your palms and the balls of your feet.
- On the right side of your body, drop down onto your elbow so that your forearm and right palm are flat on the round with the elbow positioned directly under your right shoulder.
- Then slowly do the same movement on the left side so that the left forearm and a palm are flat on the ground, with the left elbow directly under the left shoulder.
- Raise back up to the starting position one arm at a time by first placing the right hand directly underneath the right shoulder and pressing up, followed by the left.
Penguin heel taps (works obliques):
- Lay on mat on floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms by your side. Contract core muscles and raise shoulders off the floor.
- While in this position, use your right obliques to rotate upper body to the right and tap your right heel with your hand.
- Do the same movement to the left to tap the left heel, all while keep the shoulders off the floor and core fully engaged.
Plank with knee sweeps:
- Start in a push up position keeping both hands directly underneath the shoulders.
- Feet are fully extended behind you on the balls of your feet.
- Bend right leg and rotate hips to bring right knee to right elbow then sweep knee over to right elbow.
- Bring right leg back into plank position. Repeat with left leg.
It’s important to keep the core engaged and not let the hips drop toward the floor as this places unnecessary strain on the lower back.
Legs Extended Crunches with weight:
- Lay on a mat with legs fully extended toward ceiling.
- While holding one dumbbell (one hand on each end of the dumbbell), raise upper body and press dumbbell toward left ankle, release shoulders back down onto mat and then raise upper body and press dumbbell toward right ankle.
Ensure that your core is engaged (pulling belling button into the mat) to protect the lower back.