As a trainer, it's important to help clients achieve their goal in a safe manner. Whether training an average Joe or a professional athlete, they have one thing in common—to have flat abs. In order to help clients target their midsection, I have them perform core exercises instead of traditional crunches.
Core exercises are a safer alternative and target more muscles. Not only do core exercises help trim fat, but they also offer structure and balance to day-to-day functions (like carrying groceries). Here's an in-depth look at the core and how to achieve lean abs.
What is the Core?
The core is more than just a six pack (abdominal muscles). The core is any muscle that supports and stabilizes the pelvis, spine and shoulders.
Exercises such as front squats, deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups are all considered excellent core movements.
Your core/trunk/torso (call it what you want) is especially important for any additional fitness-related activity (running, swimming, biking). A strong, stable core will lead to better posture, efficient movement, and improved performance.
Whether you're a collegiate athlete, business executive or stay-at-home mom, you want to include these compound movements into your fitness routine. They provide full-body strength, prevent injury, and translate more effectively into your daily activities.
5 Crunch-Free Exercises
This is a great anti-rotation movement because your goal is to minimize the rotation of the pelvis as you move. Keep your abdominals braced and be sure to not lock out your elbows as you move. This is also great for the shoulder stabilizers, shins and quads. There are several tools you can use to perform this movement including: Valslides, Sandbells and plates. Shoot for 20 to 30 yards if you have the space.
Video: Seal Walks
Note: This clip is showing an advanced variation with banded resistance.
Stability Ball "Stir The Pots"
This is a great progression from the traditional plank. Using an unstable tool, such as the stability ball, you easily increase the intensity. Elevate the feet and incorporate small movements (such as circles or spell out the alphabet with your arms) will challenge the core muscles on both the front-side and backside of the body. Be sure to watch the lumbar spine, your goal is to maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise.