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

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

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.