Abdominal Exercises Other Than Crunches and Sit-Ups

While crunches and sit-ups are effective abdominal exercises, if you are an experienced exerciser, you may find these exercises may have lost some of their benefits. Also, some people find crunches and sit-ups uncomfortable to perform, especially if they have lower back concerns. There are a variety of other ways that you can work your abdominals effectively without having to resort to crunches or sit-ups.


Planks emphasize your rectus abdominus muscle at the front of your torso. Get onto all fours and place your elbows on the floor with your forearms extended in front of you. Walk your feet back until your weight is supported on your forearms and toes. Making sure your spine remains long and your shoulders, hips, knees and feet are aligned, hold this position for as long as possible. Make sure you don’t hold your breath when performing this exercise. If resting on your toes is too challenging, bend your legs and lower your knees to the floor.

Cable Russian Twists

To work your entire abdominal region with extra emphasis on your oblique or waist muscles, stand sideways next to a waist-high pulley. Hold the pulley handle in both hands and extend your arms so that they are level with your shoulders. Keeping your lower body still, rotate your upper body through 180 degrees using your waist muscles–make sure your arms stay in line with the center of your chest. Slowly return to the starting position and continue until your set is completed. Perform the exercise facing the other way to work your opposite side.

Medicine Ball Slams

This dynamic exercise will strengthen your rectus abdominus. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and holding a non-bouncing medicine ball in both hands. Raise the ball above your head and stand on tiptoes. Explosively flex your spine forward and hurl the ball down into the floor. Although you are using a non-bouncing medicine ball, it should bounce enough for you to catch it around knee height. Immediately raise the ball above your head and repeat. The key to success in this exercise is imagining your body is a bow and you are using it to launch the ball through the floor as if it was an arrow.

Saxon Side Bends

This exercise will challenge and develop the muscles at the side of your waist. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball in both hands overhead. Keeping your arms extended, lean to the side as far as comfortable making sure that your shoulders and hips remain square and that you lean neither forward or backward. Slowly return to the upright position and then lean to the other side. Continue bending from one side to the other until your set is completed. Because of the long lever involved in this exercise, you should only use a light to moderate weight.

Stability Ball Hill Climbers

This exercise is an advanced variation of the plank. Place your hands on either side of the apex of a stability ball and walk your feet backward so that you are in a push-up position. Your feet, knees, hips and shoulders should be aligned. Keep your abdominals tight and pull your left leg into your chest. Without pausing, extend it back to the floor and repeat the same movement with your right leg. Continue this alternating leg action until your set is complete.

About this Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Other than a five-year service in the Royal Marines, Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.