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This No-Crunch Workout Will Chisel Your Core

05/08/2019
By Soji James, CPT, CSCS

When it comes to the world’s most recognized exercises, crunches are right there in the fitness hall of fame next to squats, pushups, and burpees. This movement has been a staple in core routines across the world, and synonymous with gaining a 6-pack even way before Kriss Kross was wearing clothes backwards and mullets were a thing. It’s understandable; crunches are simple, require little to no equipment, and can be done anywhere. Unfortunately in this case, increased access doesn’t lead to better results. 

In fact, excessive crunching may actually be setting you up for injury. Your core wasn’t meant to simply be relegated to repeated flexing and extending of your spine, and it will let you know this by “gifting” you with some neck and back pain if you aren’t careful. In fact, your core is about much more than that potential 6-pack that you can see in the mirror. It involves multiple muscles that work across multiple planes of motion. Your core is the epicenter of all movement and is also meant to stabilize, rotate, and to resist rotation. 

If you are truly looking to light your abs on fire, all while setting yourself up for stronger gains in all of your other movements, start training your core as the complete package that it is. Try out this no-crunch abdominal workout that simply requires a resistance band. It will be sure to leave your heart rate high, and your midsection needing a recovery day. If you don’t have bands already, I highly recommend that you check out the ones fromWOD FItters.

Photo Credit: Amazon

Directions: Complete these exercises in circuit fashion. Perform each movement for 40 seconds, resting 20 seconds between movements. Complete 4 rounds total. In the case of the first 3 exercises, switch sides every other round.

1a) Banded Paloff Press

Standing parallel and a couple feet away from the attachment point, clasp the band in both hands. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bring the band up to the center of your chest, and press out—extending your arms fully. Don’t allow the band to pull you off balance. Hold for a second or two before returning back to the starting position. Continue in this fashion until time has expired.

1b) Banded Reverse Lunges

Standing parallel and a couple feet away from the attachment point, clasp the band in both hands. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bring the band up to the center of your chest, and press out, extending your arms fully. Maintain this arms-out position as you descend into a reverse lunge with your outside foot. Get your back knee as close as you can to the floor before standing and returning to the starting position. Continue in this fashion until time expires.

1c) Banded March

Standing parallel and a couple feet away from the attachment point, clasp the band in both hands. Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bring the band up to the center of your chest, and press out, extending your arms fully. Begin the movement by slowly marching in place. Keep your abs engaged and your chest up as you drive your knees upward and point your toes toward the ceiling. Return your foot to the ground and alternate in this fashion until time expires.

1d) Stationary Banded Sprints

Find a sturdy anchor point or a partner for this movement. Place the band around your hips. Walk out from the anchor point so that there is slight resistance, but not enough so that the band is pulling you backwards. Begin to go into a stationary sprint and place more on your emphasis on “reps” as oppose to sprinting forward. Focus on high knees, arm action, and maintain a good tempo throughout the duration of the movement.

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