7 Surprising Exercises (*planks*) That Work Your Abs Better Than Crunches

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    Crunches are not the end-all and be-all of bodyweight abs workouts but have you considered a plank? In fact, some research suggests that the basic crunch may be ineffective since it does not recruit all of your core muscles.

    7 Surprising Exercises (*planks*) That Work Your Abs Better Than Crunches

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    There are more effective workouts than countless crunches, whether you want to gain muscle for that elusive pull-up or just want to show off a six-pack (hey, no judgement!).

    These techniques will completely shift the way you think about exercising your stomach, from plank variations to weighted workouts.

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    You won’t even feel like you’re targeting your abs, but you’ll be activating your core for abs-olutely abs-tonishing results (sorry, not sorry).

    How to Make Use of This List

    Depending on your fitness level, an expert recommends including two or three of the techniques below in a training regimen that looks like this:

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    • Do each motion for 60 seconds (or the given number of reps), then rest for 20 seconds.
    • Carry out the following action.
    • Rest for up to 60 seconds after completing all three moves.
    • Retrace your steps.
    • Complete 3 or 4 rounds in total.

    Consider rushing to nowhere. With your knees up in the air? Think again if this sounds self-defeating.

    High knees 

    1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your core engaged and your back straight.
    2. Maintain a solid grip on your arms or swing them to aid with propulsion.
    3. Run in place, raising each leg as high as possible towards your chest and pulling your knees up with your lower abs. (Think sprint rather than jog.)
    4. For 60 seconds, run as quickly as you can.

    If you have some knee discomfort but want to attempt this, these yoga positions for knee pain will help open up your joints.

    Tuck jump

    Bunny, bounce, bounce! This workout will definitely keep you on your toes.

    1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your core engaged, and your back straight.
    2. Move your hips back, gently bend your knees, and bend your elbows at 90 degrees with your hands facing down.
    3. Jump up and bring your knees towards your chest, so they tap your downturned palms in one forceful action (POW!).
    4. Land softly on your toes with a tiny bend in your knees, then jump back up.
    5. 60 seconds of jumping.

    Jumping can be an excellent complement to any training routine; here’s how to perfect the vertical leap.

    Plank walk

    What might it accomplish with its arm?

    1. Begin in a high plank stance.
    2. Descend onto your right forearm first, then your left. You’ll now be in a forearm plank position.
    3. Push up from your left forearm to your left hand, then from your right forearm to your right hand to return to the starting position.
    4. Repeat for another 60 seconds.

    Plank jacks 

    It’s similar to a jumping jack, but without the jumping and with more planking.

    1. Begin with a high plank stance.
    2. Jump both feet apart wider than hip width while bracing your core. Now jump them back together rapidly. Each time, try to land lightly on your toes (who wants a fractured toe?).
    3. Maintain a firm hip position and straight arms.
    4. Repeat for another 60 seconds.

    Do you like jacks of the “jumping” variety? Here’s how to do it.

    Plank arms walkout

    Hey, I’m planking here!

    1. Begin with a high plank stance.
    2. Walk your hands forward slowly until your wrists are no longer beneath your shoulders and your torso is stretched.
    3. Move your hands as far forward as you can.
    4. Stop for a second at the farthest place before walking your hands back to the beginning position.
    5. Repeat for a total of 60 seconds.

    High plank bird dog

    Because we live in a dog-tweet-dog world.

    1. Begin with a high plank stance.
    2. Brace your core and lift your right hand and left foot off the ground, as if doing a classic bird dog.
    3. Return to the beginning posture and repeat on the opposite side of your body.
    4. Do 10 repetitions on each side.


    This one hurts, but it gets the job done.

    1. Begin on all fours.
    2. Brace your core, come to the tips of your toes, and shift your weight to your right side.
    3. Lift your left hand and foot off the ground, enabling your right hand and foot to move so that you are face up.
    4. Raise your left foot and right hand off the ground. Crunch your body together and touch your right hand to your left toes as your left leg is stretched.
    5. Go back on all fours.
    6. Rep on the opposite side, never allowing your hips to touch the ground.
    7. Repeat for 10 repetitions on each side.
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