Strong Women ambassador Alice-Rose Miller demonstrates how to strengthen your core without having to do crunches, in this quick ten minute workout.
Sit-ups not your thing? We get it, abdominal work can feel uninspiring (and repetitive) when doing the same move on repeat. But a strong centre is crucial in order to prevent injury: it reduces pressure on the knees and hips, supports the back to avoid strains and stabilises the entire body throughout heavy lifting.
So, next time you’re tempted to blow off those crunches at the end of your workout, remind yourself that being injury-prone is worse. Just think of these three exercises – that combine isometric holds, dynamic movement and extra resistance – as your cheat sheet to stronger abs.
BEAR CRAWL HOLD WITH SHOULDER TAPS
- To get into the bear crawl starting position, get into a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the ground.
- Tuck the toes under, keeping your back straight and core engaged.
- While keeping your toes and hands on the ground, push the knees off the floor so that they are hovering just a few inches above the floor.
- Holding that position, slowly lift your right hand off of the ground to touch the left shoulder.
- Place your right hand back down on the ground and repeat on the other side.
The key is to not twist through your hips, ribs or chest. Instead, keep your body in a straight line and engage the core tightly to maintain your positioning.
Do 10 reps
HIGH PLANK WITH KETTLEBELL DRAG
Do 10 reps
- Hold a high plank position with a kettlebell (or dumbbell) placed at the outside of your left hand.
- Maintain a good form in your plank: with your hands placed underneath your shoulders, and your ribs and tailbone tucked in so that your back is flat (and not arched).
- Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and drag it across the floor – from the outside of your left hand, to the other side of your body.
- Repeat on the other side. Starting with the kettlebell or dumbbell outside of the right hand and dragging across to the left side of the body.
Again, the aim is to keep the hips and chest still as you pull through the movement.
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- Kneel down on one knee for a half-kneeling position.
- Take the weight in both hands and hold it in front of (and close to) your body.
- While keeping your head up, slowly twist your body around to the side – the same side as the knee that is on the floor.
- Your hips should stay square and the rotation should come from the trunk.
- Return to the starting position. To make it easier, bring the weight closer to your body, and to make it harder take your arms out further.
To make this exercise easier, bring the weight closer to your body and to make it more challenging, take your arms further out.
Do 10 reps on each side
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Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).