The days of a normal crunch / sit up are over.  It’s time to get with the times and venture out into the abyss of core exercises.  There are so many variations regarding core exercises that I could write a 500 page novel.  Instead I kept it simple for you and will describe my top 5 ab exercises to help get that vaunted 6 pack but also help support a health back and spine.

The Plank

The Plank | Brian Gryn | Coach

Plank is superior to the crunch and/or sit up because it strengthens the core, shoulders and hips.  You def get more bang for your buck. Also planks use neutral spine loading and not trunk flexion to strengthen abs.  They also help help prevent or reverse postural deficiencies, including lordosis and posterior pelvic tilt. Lordosis, or swayback, results from abdominal weaknesses that overextend your back. (who doesn’t want better posture?)

Side Plank

Side Plank | Brian Gryn | Coach

A great variation to plank and also works the obliques and transverse abs.  Strengthening these muscles means that your lower back and spine have more support and are better protected from injury by back strain and sudden movements.  (I’m sure we have all had those back strain’s from doing nothing like sneezing)

Cross Crunch on Bosu Ball

Cross Crunch on Bosu Ball | Brian Gryn | Coach

Being on an unstable surface like the Bosu ball makes your abs work harder.  Having the Bosu ball correctly under your low back helps support it while targeting your abs for immediate burn!  Just try these and you will feel the burn and your abs will be thanking you!

Rollout on Ball or Wheel

Rollout on Wheel | Brian Gryn | Coach

This concept is similar to plank but can be much more difficult depending on what progression you use.  You definitely want to start on the big swiss ball and progress to the small wheel.  Either way your abs will work overtime to keep your back from arching into extension.  This exercise will sneak up on you even though you might not feel it right away.  (just wait a couple days :))

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging Leg Raises | Brian Gryn | Coach

They work all the major muscles of the abdominals- rectus abdominis, and external obliques.  This movement also requires an abdominal contraction from the beginning to the end of the movement while keeping the lower back in a safe position.  Lastly, the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise puts significant stress on the abdominals resulting in greater development in a shorter time period.

The bottom line is that eating clean along with consistent ab work should help you achieve washboard abs! (or some semblance of a washboard 🙂 )