If you’re looking to mix up your strength-training routine, it’s time to try these effective variations on the basic crunch. Challenge your core with these fresh exercises that will help you feel more confident and work more than your upper abs alone.

DUMBBELL SIDE BEND

Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding 5  – 10 kg dumbbells at your sides.

Bend sideways to the right, squeezing your waist on the right side. Keep your neck as neutral as possible, looking forward not down.

Pull the left ribs down to return to standing upright.This focuses the work on the left obliques.

Repeat for a total of 12 bends to the right, then switch sides. Do three sets.

 

 

KICK CRUNCH

 

Exhale to engage the abs as you kick your right leg up, bringing your left hand to your right toes, doing a small crunch.

Repeat on the other side.

This counts as one rep.

Repeat for 12 reps x3.

 

 

 

BOW EXTENSION

Hold one weight in hands at a slight angle above shoulder.

Point foot to side. Pull right knee up to meet right elbow. That’s one standing crunch.

Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Keep movements controlled. Do 3 sets.

 

 

STANDING CORE STABILIZER

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, use both hands to hold a dumbbell straight out in front of your chest, core engaged.

Moving your torso slightly, slowly rotate your arms to the left as far as you can.

Pause, then rotate to the right. That’s one rep. Continue for a total of 10 reps.

 

REVERSE DUMBBELL CHOP

Bend your knees, rotate your torso, and hold a dumbbell in both hands outside your left thigh.

Keeping your arms straight, swing the weight above your right shoulder as you straighten your legs.

Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch sides and repeat.

 

SHOULDER PRESS SIDE CRUNCH

Stand holding dumbbells at your shoulders. With your palms facing forward, press the weights overhead, straightening your arms.

As you bend your elbows to lower the weights, lift your left knee up toward your left elbow. Squeeze your abs to exaggerate the side crunch.

 

Lower your leg while raising the weights overhead, and repeat the side crunch on the right. This completes one rep.

Do 15 reps, alternating sides.

Thank you to Dominique Teppler Glass from Fudge Photography for assisting in the photo shoot.

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