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Video:No-Crunch Core and Ab Strengthening

with Leslie Nesbitt

Do you hate doing sit ups and crunches, but want to add an ab workout to your exercise routine? Build your core and abdominal muscles with these two modified yoga poses and skip the crunches altogether.See Transcript

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Transcript:No-Crunch Core and Ab Strengthening

Hi, I'm Leslie Nesbitt for About.com Health. Today we're going to look at two stationary abdominal moves that you can hold and use to strengthen that core area. I know many of us think of traditional crunches when we think of the abdominals so this will give you a little variety in your workout.

Guide to Ab Muscles

Now in the abdominal area- Here we have oblique muscles and sometimes those are known as the internal girdle so they're really strong - it's a short muscle group. So let's use them to hold in this first move.

Target the Ab Muscles

C Come over to your side to one hip and place your elbow just below your shoulder. Let those fingers spread wide for support. Now you're going to take those knees back and stack them. The knees are almost lined up with the hips and the feet are stacked one on top of the other. From here lift up out of that shoulder so you're not putting too much stress on it.

Build Ab Muscle Strength

Now here's the abdominal part. We're going to use those obliques to lift and hold. If you can hold for 5 or 6 breaks, that's great, or approximately 15 to 20 seconds - that's great. Do what you can. If you want to reach up, you can add a little bit of lift here. And also you can reach that arm forward to stretch out that side of the torso. You may not be ready for that at the beginning- Don't worry about it. Just do your best.

And when you come down, come down slowly, taking it easy on that shoulder joint. And of course you want to repeat that on the other side.

Strengthen Abs With the Modified Plank Pose

Now I'm going to show you something else that's great for abdominals. This is a modified plank hold. We're going to come down on our bellies. The elbows are underneath the shoulders. The middle finger is straight forward. I want you to curl your toes under and lift using your abdominals. See if you can get your hips level with your shoulders. You don't want to let the back sway, or sag, and you don't want to lift up too high.

Plank Pose and Ab Strength

So as you come into this pose, you're going to feel those abdominals supporting you. I recommend that you look down at the space between the thumbs. If you're ready for a little bit more, you can take 1 leg, lift it, and hold it, but don't hold your breath, keep that air flowing. If this feels like too much, just drop the knees to the mat and take a little break. Otherwise, we're going to come on up to a cross-legged position. Reach the fingertips back, lifting the heart and the chest to stretch out that abdominal area.

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