Build Core Strength and Endurance Without Crunches
Why You Don't Need Crunches1 of 18
Crunches activate very few muscles. Most athletes perform multiple reps of crunches because of the limited range of motion. Therein lies the problem: Endurance athletes have high stamina, but little strength.
Core Essentials for Runners2 of 18
Runners get plenty of endurance work during sport-specific preparation, but because runners desperately need strength, the majority of their core exercises should be done with heavier weight and lower reps. Core exercises such as pikes and pendulums can focus on building endurance through higher reps and longer duration.
Crunch-free Core TrainingEssential Protocols 3 of 18
1. Perform core exercises that develop strength, not just endurance 2. Use a variation of core exercises and be sure to change up the variables: reps, sets, weight, speed, rest and volume 3. 2 to 3 days a week is all that needs to be devoted to core training
Turkish Get Ups (TGU)4 of 18
•Full-body movement through all planes of motion•Takes practice; it can be one of the most humbling and frustrating exercises to master•Dumbbells will work, but kettlebells are better•Benefits: improved mobility, coordination, proprioception, strength in shoulders and core•Start from the supine position, where your entire core is engaged
Turkish Get UpsStep 1 5 of 18
•Start by lying on your back with right knee bent•The heel of your foot needs to be near your butt•Pull in your abdominal muscles•Hold the weight in your right hand•Keep your right shoulder "packed down," or pulled back and down
Turkish Get UpsStep 2 6 of 18
•Crunch to get up on your left elbow•Drive your right heel down•Shift your weight to your left hand
Turkish Get UpsStep 3 7 of 18
•Drive through your right heel so you are in a bridge position—you want full hip extension of the hip•You're building glute strength while working shoulder stabilization in this phase
Turkish Get UpsStep 4 8 of 18
•Sweep left leg underneath your body, bringing left knee to the ground•Straighten up, and align body by rotating left leg•Keep arm straight up, shoulder packed, and the torso activated?
Turkish Get UpsStep 5 9 of 18
•Time to stand up•Make sure the right shoulder, torso and glutes remain activated
Russian Twist10 of 18
•Enages obliques, low back, abs and deep stabilizers•Use a medicine ball or dumbbell•Sit on the floor with knees bent•Keep your torso straight and swing the medicine ball from side to side with your arms?•To increase difficulty, use heavier weight, and lift your feet off the floor?
Power Wheel Roll OutStep 1 11 of 18
•Static contraction increases strength most effectively•The horizontal position forces you to work against gravity•Kneel on your knees and keep your toes on the ground?
Power Wheel Roll OutStep 2 12 of 18
•Roll forward, maintaining a tight torso and keeping your chin in a neutral position•Move as far as you can while maintaining a tight torso
Power Wheel Hand Walks13 of 18
•Lock your feet into the power wheel, and get into a prone position? •Move into a push-up position•Start walking forward with your hands, one after the other•How far can you walk?
TRX Suspension Training14 of 18
Like the power wheel, these movements have you in a prone position; you will be working against gravity in an unsupportive environment. TRX core exercises are a great way to build in endurance through your core. These two exercises will engage your abs, obliques, back and hips.?
TRX Pendulum15 of 18
•Start in the prone position with feet locked into straps•Lean on your hands or forearms•Lift your knees off the floor and swing your legs from side to side like a pendulum?•Use your obliques to create the movement•Maintain a tight core by pulling your navel in toward your spine
TRX Pike16 of 18
•Start in the prone position with feet locked into the straps•Lean on your hands or forearms•Push up. Pull your feet towards your hands, keep legs straight, and send your butt straight up•As you come out of the pike, maintain a tight core to avoid hyperextending your back
Crunch-free CoreVariation Is Important 17 of 18
A 15-minute crunch DVD doesn't cut it. With a small investment in equipment, you can build strength and endurance through your core. You don't need 20 crunch variations to reach this goal. Your workouts need to be systematic and progressive through load, distance, duration, speed, reps and sets. Vary the number of reps, sets and speed that you complete these six exercises so your core muscles are continually challenged.