Forget Crunches. These Are the 3 Most Important Ab Exercises You Could Ever Do

Most important ab exercises

Picking the right ab exercises can help develop stronger, tighter abs quicker. They activate the right muscle groups to build a solid core and six-packs without spending hours in the gym.

Creating visible definitions in the abs takes both clean eating and the right workouts.

While a clean diet takes care of body fat, the right ab exercises take care of building lean muscles that’ll develop six packs.

And if your go-to ab moves are crunches, they aren’t the most effective ones.

Here are the 3 ab exercises better than crunches to build a stronger core and build tighter abs.

3 Best Ab Exercises to Do Instead of Crunches

3 Best Ab Exercises to Do Instead of Crunches

Bear Crawl

Bear Crawl core exercise for six pack abs

Bear crawls are great for both athletes as well as the average client looking to increase total body strength and coordination. Like many of the movements on this list, bear crawls can be modified in a variety of ways. 

In this manner, you can decrease the chances of becoming bored with the movement. Furthermore, varying the bear crawl can also help you to overcome many plateaus that you might reach with bodyweight exercise.

How to Perform:

  • Place both hands and feet on the ground, keeping a slight bend in your knees and elbows.
  • To complete the movement, simply walk forward for 10-15 feet on all fours by alternating arm and leg movements.
  • Aim for 10-12 laps of this distance for 3-5 sets per session.

Russian Twist

Russian Twist

It’s unclear when this move became extremely popular. Many people point to the scene in Rocky IV in which the Russian opponent, played by Dolph Lundgren, is seen performing the movement. 

At any rate, the Russian twist is an excellent exercise for strengthening the obliques.

How to Perform:

  • Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Lean your trunk backward until you feel your abdominal muscles engage.
  • Then, with or without a weight in your hands, twist your trunk from side to side, aiming to tap the ground on every rep.
  • Complete 10-12 reps per side for 3-5 sets per session.

Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Last, but not least, is the bird dog. This exercise is incredible for building overall core strength. Furthermore, it is one of the best movements around for increasing spinal stability through multifidi activation.

How to Perform:

  • Start with your hands flat on the floor, directly underneath your shoulders. 
  • Additionally, place your knees on the floor, directly underneath your hips.
  • Slowly, extend your left arm forward as you extend your right leg backward.
  • Next, gradually bring your hand and foot back to the starting position to complete the rep.
  • Perform 10-12 reps per side, per set, for 3-5 sets per session.

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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