It’s safe to assume that many people immediately think of crunches when someone mentions core exercises. Those days of high school gym class will forever be ingrained in our brains. But luckily, there are easier ways to strengthen your abs than frantically trying to complete as many crunches as possible.
It’s actually possible to complete an effective core workout without having to do a single crunch. Crunchless core workouts are a great way to avoid the strain and tension that crunches place on your neck and back.
This simple, 15 minute core workout involves no crunches and still provides effective core strengthening. These isometric core exercises strengthen the entire core, from your lower abs to the upper abs, side and back.
Isometric core training is a great source of strength training for runners. These crunch free ab exercises blend the perfect amount of movement with strengthening to provide an epic burn throughout your core.
Each exercise in this crunchless core workout will help strengthen your abs, gain overall balance and keep your body tight and toned on the run. Try this 15 Minute Crunchless Core Workout for Runners as a simple addition to your weekly training plan!
15 Minute Crunchless Core Workout for Runners
Legs Down Criss Cross x 15
Begin this exercise lying flat on your back, with your feet straight up in the air. Extend your legs directly above your hips, forming a 90 degree angle at your waist. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, begin to lower your feet towards the floor. As you are doing so, cross one leg over the other, switching back and forth in a criss cross motion.
Continue lowering your legs with a criss cross motion until they hover a few inches above the floor. From here, bring your legs back to their original position, forming a 90 degree angle once again at your hips.
Side Plank with Taps x 20 (per side)
This exercise brings the core strengthening benefits of a classic side plank to another level with the addition of taps. Begin in a side plank position, either with a straight arm or on your elbow. Extend your top arm straight into the air above your body, as if reaching for the ceiling.
While maintaining a side plank position, reach down toward the floor with your upper hand, bringing your fingers through the space underneath your armpit to tap the floor behind your shoulder. After tapping the floor, reach your arm back toward the ceiling and repeat.
Russian Twists x 50
This crunchless core exercise is an excellent way to strength all areas of your core. Begin in a seated position on the floor, bringing your feet in towards your body and knees towards your chest. From this position, lean back slightly to elevate your feet a few inches above the floor and balance.
While maintaining balance, bring both hands over to one side of your hips, tapping the floor simultaneously. Quickly move your hands from one side of your body to the other, being careful that your feet remain elevated the entire time.
Legs Down with Hip Lift x 20
Begin this exercise lying flat on your back, with your feet straight up in the air directly above your hips. Extend your legs straight to form a 90 degree angle at your waist. Keeping your legs as straight as possible, begin to lower your feet towards the floor.
Continue to lower your legs until they hover just a few inches off the floor. Bring your legs back to their original position above your hips, and while doing so, lift your hips slightly off the floor. Once your hips return to the floor, immediately begin to lower your legs for the next repetition.
Plank x 60 seconds
A center plank is a powerful exercise that provides a multitude of strengthening benefits for your abs. This core exercise strengthens your entire midsection, including the back, hips, glutes and thighs. Begin lying face down on the floor, with your legs stretched straight out.
Bring your hands in towards your shoulders, and rise up onto your elbows or straighten your arms to balance on your palms. Try to maintain a completely flat back while distributing your weight evening between your hands/elbows and toes. Be sure not to arch your back or let your hips sag. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
Related: The Ultimate 30 Day Plank Challenge
Scissor Kicks x 30
Begin this exercise lying flat on your back, with your legs stretched straight out and your arms down at your sides. Without cranking your neck, use your core muscles to lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, while simultaneously lifting your feet.
Lift one leg slightly higher than the other and then lower it, rapidly alternating back and forth in a scissor-like motion. Pay close attention to your neck, making sure that your core is supporting your upper body throughout this exercise (not your neck).
Bicycles x 30
This core exercise is completed with your body in a V shape. Stretch your legs straight out in front of you, and lift them to hover a few inches above the floor. Lean back slightly with your upper body, bringing your hands behind your head.
Slowly and with control, bring one knee in towards your upper body. While doing so, twist your upper body slightly, so the opposite elbow is able to tap your knee. Continue this motion with control, alternating sides as you go.
This crunchless core workout is an excellent addition to any runner’s training plan, and a great way to quickly gain core strength without completing any of those dreaded crunches. Each ab exercise uses your own bodyweight to create massive resistance and help you gain strength quickly.
Try this crunch free workout as a way to mix up your regular core exercises and challenge your body in new ways. Even just 15 minutes once a week can make a big difference!