After a couple weeks of working together, it’s standard protocol for me to ask my clients if there’s anything they want more of in their training program. I always have my own ideas about what they need, but it’s important to me that they’re still getting what they want.

9 times out of 10 the answer is “more core work”. And by “more core work” they mean “more ab work”. 😉

I won’t lie – I avoided putting a lot of direct ab exercises into my clients’ programs and my own workouts for a few years. I have my go-to core strengtheners like planks, bird dogs, some cable work…something about crunches just seemed so cliche.

But I understand that while people are paying me to help them reach their goals in the safest and most effective way possible, they still want to feel that “burn” we’ve been trained to associate with exercise. I wanted to deliver on their requests but I wanted to stay true to my disdain for crunches, so I did what any good coach would do and I got creative.

I still avoided putting the majority of these exercises into my own workouts, until I dislocated my shoulder last October. I was pretty much limited to lower body and core work, no planks allowed 😟 So I started adding in some more of the movements I’d been getting my girls to do, and lo and behold – my core got a lot stronger!

Sometimes all it takes is switching up your routine to ignite some fresh progress 😉

This no-crunch ab workout includes 4 of the exercises I’ve been tossing into workouts lately. They’ll hit your lower abs, rectus abs (the “six pack” abs), and your obliques. I’d recommend doing 3 sets of 10 reps of each movement (10 reps per side on movements that involve two sides) at the end of a workout, or as a standalone quickie workout if you’re short on time. (*There’s a note about Banana Boats underneath the Pinterest image.)

All you need is a bit of space on the floor and you’re golden!

Watch the No-Crunch Ab Workout movements right here:

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no-crunch ab workoutA few important things to note about the No-Crunch Ab Workout movements:

V-Sits: Keep your spine long and your chest lifted as you lean back and then bring your chest to your knees. Try not to hunch forward at the shoulders (doing so might cause some lower back discomfort). If this is too challenging, keep one foot on the ground and do 5 reps with one leg going out and in, then switch and repeat for 5 more reps on the other side. If this is too easy, raise your arms overhead.

Banana Boats: These are tough! If you’re struggling with these, don’t compromise your form to get in all 10 reps. Aim to do 1 really good one. Then 3 really good ones. And work your way up. Squeezing your glutes will help you as you transition from banana to boat.

Flutter Kicks: Imagine you’re pressing your lower back to the mat. You don’t have to actually flatten it, but keeping that image in mind will help you from arching it. Pull your bellybutton back to your spine and keep your pelvis stable as you cross the legs. The higher your legs are, the easier this will be. The lower they are, the more challenging it will be.

Two Twists: Get on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Tuck your toes, engage your core, then lift your knees off the ground. Rotate the hips to one side, bring them back to the centre, then repeat on the other side. Maintain control when you’re doing the movement – don’t flail those knees around!

And please remember that while I’m a personal trainer, I don’t know you and your fabulously unique body! If you have special concerns or considerations, please feel free to book a complimentary call with me to see what would work best for your individual goals.

If you want more mini workouts like this, this is exactly the type of stuff I’ll be sharing in the Healthy Habits Challenge that begins February 22. 

From February 22-February 28 you’ll receive daily 10-minute workouts you can do anywhere without any equipment. You’ll receive nutrition tips, tips to enhance your mindset, and you’ll learn and begin to implement my simple four-step process for crossing items off your healthy habit to-do list. 

Oh, and did I mention it’s free? 😉

Get in on it right here:

Showing 2 comments
  • Susie @ Suzlyfe

    I have several clients that I can’t do crunches with, but there is no way that they aren’t going to do ab work! I love these moves!

    • Ariana

      Great! I’m glad you liked them 🙂

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