Switch Up Your Ab Routine

Good for you—you've been working out a lot! You did what everyone told you and you found something you love to do. So you do it over and over again—everyday.

The only thing experts seem to agree on is that the only perfect exercise is the one that you do every day—sticking with it is the only way to see results. It's a lot harder to stick to a plan if you hate it. Finding an exercise program you like is awesome, right?

While consistency is key to achieving results from your workouts, you and your muscles will get bored if you do the same workout all the time and worst of all—you'll stop seeing results. What's more those boring crunches may not be giving you the results you want.

The good news is that with so many exercises to choose from you can still do the exercises you love, but with a twist that will keep you challenged and seeing results.

Crunch Remix

The Remix: BOSU Ball Crunch

See video.

Doing crunches on an unstable surface (like the BOSU) introduces instability—your deep abdominal muscles engage to help you balance and you'll get a deeper workout. You also get a greater range of motion than if you perform this exercise on the floor so you'll create a greater challenge.

Step 1: Sit with you buttocks directly alongside the base of BOSU ball and lean back so that the highest point of the ball touches the middle of your back.

Step 2: Place your hands behind your head and perform a simple crunch, contracting your abs and rounding your spine as you pull your chest toward your pelvis. For a greater challenge sit on the BOSU ball.

Trainer Tip: Imagine sliding your bottom ribs underneath your hip bones - you want to think about lifting your shoulders by drawing your belly button down—not pushing up with your shoulders. This will help you flatten your abs while you build strength.

The Super Remix: Ball Pass

See video.

This "crunch" uses both your upper and lower body to create leverage—so you're pulling the muscles long (and flat) while you tighten them. The results are flatter, firmer abs. The ball adds additional weight to the move increasing the challenge. Gripping the ball between your feet forces your inner thighs to engage which causes an even deeper contraction in your abs.

Step 1: Begin on your back with your legs pointed toward the ceiling and a ball between your feet.

Step 2: Extend your arms behind your head and lower your feet to a 45 degree angle with the floor. Return to starting position and pass the ball from your legs to your hands.

Step 3: Pass the ball back and forth between your hands and feet keeping your head and shoulders lifted off the mat.

Trainer Tip: Make sure to keep your lower back pressed flat into the ground during the entire movement—if you're arching your lower back then don't drop your legs as low to the ground. It's better to keep your legs higher and maintain the proper form—this will prevent injury and ensure your hard work gets results.

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Dena Stern is a certified personal trainer and the Content & Community Manager for Exercise.com. She works with a highly trained group of nutritionists, trainers, yoga and Pilates instructors and athletes to provide the best information, tools and motivation related to exercise and fitness.

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