Many of us have heard that crunches aren’t really all that beneficial; that instead of doing sit ups and crunches, we should be doing planks. And while planks are great, they get...well...boring. It can be fun to mix things up and add some variety to our workouts with other movements to work our core from every angle.
We can work our core while standing, while doing cardio moves like burpees, or while lunging. We can work our core from every angle using CRUNCHLESS core moves. If you’re ready to add some variety to your core training, try these 5 Crunchless Core Moves!
This move makes you look like you’re a dancing crab, and boy will it work your triceps, shoulders, obliques, and even your legs. To do the Dancing Crab, start seated on the ground and place your hands behind you with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your butt up off the ground to start.
Perform a little dip, bending your elbows as you touch your butt back down to the ground. As you straighten your arms back out, bridging your hips up a bit, kick your leg up and reach your opposite hand to touch your toe. Touch your toe then place your hand and foot back down.
Repeat the dip and then kick the other leg up and reach your other hand to touch your toe. Move quickly without rushing so much that you don’t stay balanced. Also, make sure to perform a little dip after each toe touch, bending your elbows slightly so your butt touches the ground.
The Half Burpee is the perfect cardio-core move to work your abs, quads, shoulders, arms and chest! It will work your core AND get your blood pumping aka more bang for your buck in less time!
To do Half Burpees, set up in the high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your feet wider apart. Perform a pushup then jump both feet up and outside your hands so you’re in a squat position with your hands on the ground. Try to really jump all the way outside your hands.
Quickly jump back into plank and perform another pushup. Try not to let your butt go way up in the air as you jump from the squat back to plank and from the plank into a squat. Move quickly jumping into the squat position and back out into plank. Do not let your hips sag or your butt go up in the air in the plank position.
Beginners can perform the push up from their knees and even step instead of jumping, but still make sure to move quickly.
This move will make you feel like you’re in the movie The Matrix, or at least really good at the limbo. Lean Backs will work your abs, glutes, and quads.
To do Lean Backs, start kneeling on the ground with your knees about hip-width apart and feet flexed as you kneel nice and tall. Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. You can then cross your hands over your chest or reach them out in front of you.
Engaging your core and driving down through the balls of your flexed feet, lean back. Do not arch your back as you lean back but simply move from your knees, leaning back without sitting your butt back. Go back as far as you can with your body in a nice straight line.
Come back forward. Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs the entire time. Feel your quads really working to control your lean back. Do not sit back on your heels as you go back. Come back up to kneeling nice and tall and repeat.
You can make this move more challenging by holding a weight in at your chest or even in your straight arms out in front of you. Do not rush the Lean Back, but instead move in a slow and controlled fashion.
Lunge with Oblique Twist
Your core includes everything between your shoulders to your knees, which means working your legs and your glutes is key. That is why this Lunge with Oblique Twist is such a great core move. It works your glutes as well as your obliques and even improves your balance. And because it is a compound move, you work more muscles at once to get you even faster results!
To do the Lunge with Oblique Twist, start standing tall then lunge back with your right foot, dropping your back knee down toward the ground as you keep your chest up. Keep your front heel down as you lunge back and bend your front knee to about 90 degrees as you load your glute. Then drive back up to standing, pushing through your left heel.
As you drive up, bring your back knee up and forward as you straighten your left leg. Tuck your right knee up and rotate your upper body and arms toward that right knee. Twist toward that knee then lunge back again and repeat. Make sure to engage the glute of your standing leg and feel your abs work to twist toward your knee.
Bulldog Shoulder Taps
Having a strong core means you can not only lift more and run faster, but also means you can prevent injury. To help you build a strong, injury-free core, you need to make sure to include anti-rotational moves that help you build core stability. And the Bulldog Shoulder Taps will help you do just that as you also improve your quad and ab strength and even your shoulder stability!
To do the Bulldog Shoulder Taps, set up on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Flex your feet then lift up onto your hands and feet with your knees an inch off the ground. Holding in this position, lift one hand and tap your opposite shoulder.
Place the hand back down and then raise your other hand up to tap your opposite shoulder. Slowly alternate shoulder taps, keeping your body still and your knees an inch off the ground. Fight the desire to rotate as you tap or let your butt go up in the air.
Using these 5 Crunchless Core Moves, you can work your core from every angle to build core stability and strength. Plus, you’ll get faster results than you would with crunches because you’re working more large muscle groups at once and really getting your blood pumping too!
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.