So I was reading Army Times again and they had a great article about the apparent lunacy that is the stomach crunch. Core strength and sexy abs are best developed not through sit-ups and crunches, but through a variety of integrated exercises that focus on overall butt-kickability.
“Abdominal strength is the result of proper training in movement patterns. The abs, as the supporting cast, will develop alongside the rest of the muscles. Isolation exercise leads to a collection of body parts, not the integrated fighting unit we need to succeed on the battlefield.”
In other words, it’s the difference between looking fit and being fit. To be all you can be, try these two exercises:
1. Standing Weighted Arm Raises
You’ll need two 5-15 pound dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Flex your abs and glutes (tuck ‘em) like you’re about to take a punch. The key ingredient here is ultimate tension. Make your body as rock hard as possible during this entire exercise! Now, slowwwwly bring your arms up in front of you to shoulder-height (or higher, if you’re fit). Slowly lower. Repeat. Oh, and remember to hiss as you exhale. Are you hissing? Because that’s important.
Do this until you fall over. You will soon be bouncing Fight Club DVDs off your chiseled obliques.
2. The Hot Potato
You’re in the same position as #1, only now you’re holding a medicine ball. Basically the idea is juggling, but in the most tense, controlled way possible. No swaying – stay locked and loaded! Start slowly, but work up to a quicker pace as soon as you get comfortable. The spud is piping, but you must be harder than marble! Or the hills of Peleliu.
Do this until your form is falling apart. Bonus: this move improves balance.
Here’s a great medicine ball:
These crunch alternatives work equally well for boys and girls, and you don’t even have to enlist. I don’t know about you, but I get really bored with crunches and twists, so these moves come highly recommended.