Crunches are the worst. They are boring and you have to do a ton before really cashing in on the labor. It's time to ditch the crunches and still end up with the rock hard abs you work for.
"Your core is your powerhouse," says Jaime Wood, fitness manager at Virtua's William G. Rohrer Center for Health Fitness. "While toned abs LOOK great, a strong core also is important for balance and stability- helping you get more out of the rest of your workout. Wood recommends these three "no-floor," core exercises from the American Council on Exercise (click on each for detailed instructions with photos):
- Invert flyers: strengthens the core through balance
- Standing wood chop: a functional movement using a medicine ball to strengthen the core and tone the obliques
- Standing cable rotation: an upper body twist using cables or a resistance band that tones the abs and obliques
If you're just starting out, Wood recommends beginning with one set of 8 to 12 to see how your body responds. If you experience muscle soreness, give yourself 24 hours to recover before getting back at it. Of course, it's always important before starting any new exercises routine to see a fitness specialist.
If you're already in a regular workout routine, you can do all three exercises every single day or 3 to 5 times a week to see significant results. "If you watch what you're eating and do one or all three of these exercises on a regular basis, you can definitely get the abs you're after. And you can do it without the crunches," says Wood.
The William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness and Virtua's Center for HealthFitness in Washington Township approach health and wellness from a medically integrated perspective. Both state-of-the-art facilities provide a wide selection of equipment, resources and specialized programs to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Learn more by visiting www.virtuafitness.org.