If you’re like many people, one of your top goals in the gym is to get a set of 6-pack abs. Nothing screams "high fitness level" like a tight and firm midsection, but many men often think that in order to accomplish this goal they must perform an endless series of crunches each and every time they workout.
This is not the case at all. There are a number of exercises you can perform that will recruit all of the muscle fibers deep within the tissue without requiring any type of crunching action.
Below are six such exercises that are guaranteed to get you the results you’re looking for, provided they're incorporated into a well-rounded program that works all of the major muscle groups in the body.
1. The Renegade Row
The renegade row demands good balance and coordination, because if you don’t contract your abdominal muscles you’re going to fall over. To perform it, position yourself so your legs are straight out behind you while you’re balancing your upper body with your hands, each on a dumbbell that are placed shoulder-width apart on the floor under the shoulders. Once in this position, transfer your weight to one side and proceed to lift the arm up to perform a one-arm row. After completing this, either move on to a second rep on the same side or switch over to the other side and alternate between reps in that manner.
2. Raised-Leg Single-Leg Squat
Even if you have incredibly strong quads, this single-leg squat will still challenge your abdominal core.To perform it, stand so that you’re balancing on one leg with the other leg raised out as high into the air as possible, directly in front of you.Next, begin to squat down on the standing leg, maintaining balance the entire time. Go down as low as you can possibly go, and then rise back up to the starting position.After finishing 10 reps on one side, switch legs and repeat.
3. Side Leg Raises
This third no-crunch exercise for 6-pack abs also tests your balancing abilities while focusing on the obliques. To start, move into a plank. From there, lift the hand and leg of one side of the body off the floor and rotate until you’re now in a sideways position. Once you’ve found your balance, proceed to lift the leg closest to the ceiling up and down performing side leg lifts. To increase the challenge, bring the leg forward and back as well; however, be absolutely sure you maintain the straight spinal column position.
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4. Cable Woodchoppers
This exercise works double-time to strengthen the abdominal core and work the shoulder muscles. First, stand sideways to a cable machine with a low-cable pulley attachment by your feet. Bend over using a slight bend in the knees and reach for the handle. From there, straighten your body back up while twisting in the opposite direction until you are holding the handle across your body and above your head in the opposite direction. Pause for a brief moment and then lower back down to the starting position to complete the rep. Aim for 10 reps on each side.
5. Lunge With Ball Pass-Off
This no-crunch ab exercise is best to do with a partner so they can follow right behind you to control the position of the ball. Begin by performing a standard lunge while holding a medicine ball. As you lower down to the ground, you want to twist to the side so you are able to hand the ball off to your partner behind you. From that point, twist back to the front and continue with the lunging motion until you get to the bottom portion of the second lunge. Have your partner pass you the ball on your other side. Try for 10 reps on each side before taking a 30 to 60 second rest and performing the 6-pack ab exercise again.
6. Stability Ball Jack-Knife
Finally, the sixth no-crunch ab exercise, a high intensity one, is a stability ball jack-knife.To perform this, place your elbows on a bench while your legs are behind you on top of an exercise ball, with your stomach facing the floor. From there, lift one leg off the exercise ball and raise it out to the side of your body, then curl the ball into your chest with the leg still on top of it. Once the ball is as far as it can go, extend it straight out behind you again.
So, the next time you’re dreading your regular old 6-pack ab workout, keep these variations in mind. By changing things up every so often you not only prevent boredom at the gym, but it will take your results to a higher level.