Not a Fan of Crunches? Here's a Smarter Way to Sculpt Your Core

Updated 09/05/17
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Anyone who has ever taken a workout class has probably heard the words “engage your core,” and most people know that when it comes to upping your fitness, having a strong midsection is pretty crucial. But aside from the obvious sit-ups, it can be tough to know where to start when you’re trying to target that area. That’s why we tapped Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, the ladies of Tone It Up, to breathe new life into our ab routines. (Side note: They’re going on tour this fall.)

Don’t get us wrong—crunches are great, and they allow you to feel the burn in your abs, but there’s a good reason to move beyond them in your core workouts. “Crunches only sculpt some of your ab muscles,” Karena explains. “Adding in other core exercises that use twisting motions and balancing will make your workouts more effective and give you a sleek and sexy waistline.” So how do you make sure you’re hitting all the different areas of your core? Well, you’ve got to switch up the types of exercises you’re doing.

“Your core is made up of multiple muscles that each perform a different movement,” Katrina says. “Your obliques allow you to twist and turn, your transverse abdominis is used to stabilize your core, and your rectus abdominis allows you to flex forward. Whenever we design a core routine, we always include moves that strengthen and tone every muscle of your waistline.”

For this expert-approved core-blasting routine, all you’ll need is a stability ball.

Move 1: Ball Pass

Tone It Up

What It Does: This is an all-over core-toning exercise that will hit all the muscles in the area.

How to Do It: Begin on your back with the exercise ball between your feet and your legs a few inches off the ground. Raise the ball, and lift your shoulders off the ground to pass the ball into your hands. Lower your legs and arms back. Repeat to return the ball back to your legs. That’s one rep.

Complete 10 reps.

Move 2: Jackknife

Tone It Up

What It Does: This puts the focus on your lower ab region, which isn’t always so easy to target.

How to Do It: Begin with your shins on the ball, and your hands beneath your shoulders in a plank position. Slowly roll the ball toward your chest, engaging your lower abs. Roll back to the starting plank position.

Complete 15 reps.

Move 3: Hip Dips

Tone It Up

What It Does: These target the sides of your waistline where your obliques are.

How to Do It: Begin in a plank position on your forearms with your core engaged and your booty in line with your back. Lower your right hip to the ground, and then lower your left hip to the ground.

Complete 10 reps on each side (20 reps total).

Move 4: Single Leg Lowers

Tone It Up

What It Does: This is another exercise that helps you engage your lower abs, but it also works your core as a whole.

How to Do It: Begin on your back with your lower back pressed into the ground and both of your legs raised. Lower one leg to a few inches off the ground. Return to start. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Complete 10 reps on each side (20 reps total).

Move 5: Tummy Toner

Tone It Up

What It Does: This move lets you get some work in on the sides of your waistline.

How to Do It: Begin in a plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders. Lift your right knee up to meet your right elbow. Slowly lower back down. Repeat with the opposite side.

Complete 10 reps on each side (20 reps total).

Want more workout ideas? Head to our wellness vertical, THE/THIRTY

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