Sit-ups and crunches can both be really good ways to build up your ab strength. If you want defined abs and you want to develop the muscles abdominal muscles, then these exercises are considered the go-to’s, but they’re not for everybody.
Can you have ab exercises without crunches or sit-ups? These kinds of exercises can get really monotonous and boring after a while. They can also be difficult to do, and I think anyone who’s tried to do crunches or sit-ups as part of their regular exercise routine has felt at least some frustration with them. They are demanding exercises, and there has to be an easier way to build up your abs, right?
The good news is that there are tons of other exercises you can use if crunches or sit-ups are not your kind of exercise. Some people have a lot of difficulty doing either of those, especially without any assistance.
I’m going to share with a list of ab exercises without crunches or sit-ups, and you can pick and choose from this list to find something you’re interested in.
You don’t have to choose just one or two; you can choose as many as you want. I would suggest changing up your routine every so often and throwing different exercises in there from time to time. This will give you some variety and help you avoid getting burnt out or bored with your routine.
Ab Exercise Routine That Doesn’t Include Crunches or Situps
“I thought pushups were just for my arms,” you might be thinking, but they are great for your abs as well. These exercises get you to work your core and engage those abdominal muscles as you move up and down in the pushup motion.
Pushups are excellent for building your abs while working a lot of your upper body.
They are great chest, arm, and shoulder exercises too. This is why I try to make them a part of my workout no matter which part of my upper body I’m working on. Of course, if you found sit-ups and crunches too challenging, pushups may be too tough as well. They are good exercise to throw into your routine from time to time, however, because of all the benefits that they offer.
The standard pushup might be a little difficult for you, and if that’s the case, you may want to try knee pushups instead. Something I love about pushups is that you can vary them easily. You can add weights to your pushup or do them at a different angle. Incline pushups add a whole another level to them and work different muscle groups. Standing pushups are much, much easier and a great way to transition to regular pushups for people who aren’t very active or strong.
This is a really popular exercise right now, and it’s one that is easy enough for most people to do no matter what their physical fitness level is. Planks are what I recommend just about anybody who’s trying to build up their center or their core. Planks are simple enough that you can do them without a lot of strength, but they offer a lot of benefits too. They’re just one of those all-around great exercises that’s good for any fitness level and great for building up core strength.
The benefit comes from how you hold the pose. You want good form, and you want to try to engage your abdominal muscles while you do planks. This is also a great exercise to throw some variations into and give it a little variety. I would suggest trying the standing plank, incline plank, and other variations. You can even strap some weights on, like ankle weights or weighted vest blank. Anything to make it more interesting or add some extra exertion to it can be beneficial to you, either mentally or physically.
Two Leg Floor Bridge
Another exercise want to share with you is one that is considered a foundational exercise. In other words, it helps to build up your core. It’s a move that will help you work up to some of those higher intensity, more difficult exercises.
Start by lying on the floor on your back and bend your knees. Keep your feet flat and lay your arms down by your sides. From there, lift your pelvis and your hips from the floor to line up your shoulders, hips, and needs. From that position, slowly lower back down to the floor and then repeat the movement. You can do this exercise about 15 to 20 times and then try to do another three sets with the same number of reps.
It’s a good way to burn belly fat and strengthen your core so that you can do some of the more difficult exercises on this list.
When I was little, this was always one of my favorite exercises. It felt like I was going on an adventure, and I’d sometimes imagine myself climbing up a mountain as I did it. It’s still one of my favorite exercises, because it could be a great cardio workout and yet it’s superb for working your core and building those abdominal muscles.
Mountain climbers give you almost a full body workout, working your calves, abs, feet, glutes, and quadriceps. Your shoulders, arms, and chest also get some of the same benefits as they would from doing planks. Are you starting to see why I love this exercise so much? It’s really great for your entire body, and I don’t consider it something that’s difficult to do.
Now, you can make mountain climbers a high intensity exercise if you want to. You can do them fast and fierce and really work up a sweat, burning a lot of calories.
Make sure as you do this exercise that you alternate the legs. You definitely want both legs to get an even workout. Try to keep your form of the entire time you’re doing this exercise. If you start to get tired as you do mountain climbers, the tendency is to let your form kind of melt away and look for an easier way to do it. I suggest stopping at that point, because when you lose your form, your exercise is less effective.
Doing exercises with poor form also increases your risk of injury, so only keep doing mountain climbers as long as you keep your form solid and your core engaged.
Resistance Band Flutter Kicks
This is another exercise where you can decide the intensity and speed that you move out.
Start by lying on the floor on your back with your toes pointed up in the air. If you want, you can add a resistance band to your legs to make it more challenging and give yourself more of a workout. I don’t suggest starting there, though. I think the first time you try this workout, you should do it without the resistance bands so that you know you can go through all the motions without any trouble. Then, if it’s not challenging enough, by all means add the resistance bands.
So, lying on your back, keep your hands at rest, either on the floor, on your abdomen, or even over your head. Kick your legs one after another into the air, alternating legs and kicking in smooth motions rather than jerky ones. Scissor your legs with alternating kicks where every time one leg touches the ground, the other leg goes up.
You could do this about 20 or 30 times on each leg, rest, and then do another set. Repeat the set of few times for maximum benefits.
These are just a few exercises to get you started, and as you can see there is a variety of workouts you can do for your abs without involving any sit-ups or crunches. If you’re tired of those exercises, give some of these a try or search up other add exercises you can do. It’s important that you stay motivated and keep at your workout routine. That way, you can retain your gains and achieve your goals.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://ahumanbody.com.