Your other exercises are typically in the range of 8-15 reps. So what in the world makes you think that doing crunch after crunch, after crunch, after crunch will have any effect?
If something at the gym takes you hundreds of reps in order to feel even a minuscule burn, you’re doing it wrong.
I don’t know how crunches became so popular. I think people like them because they’re easy to do, and because the stomach area is the number one problem area for most people. But you’re not going to get six-pack abs from doing thousands of crunches. Crunches do little to strengthen or tighten your core. Plus, they really only hit the top half of your abs, leaving your lower abs neglected. You’re wasting your time and effort.
There are much better ab exercises. Here are three of our favorites:
Most gyms have this piece of equipment. It’s the chair with armrests but no seat to sit on. To complete one rep, you start with your legs straight below you and pull your knees up to your chest with your abs. For a more advanced exercise, keep your legs straight and extend them straight out in front of you. Try to finish with your legs slightly past parallel with the ground, and try to hold your legs in the final position if you can for an additional burn.
The key to this exercise is to not swing your legs. Momentum is the ultimate results killer. Try to go slower if you feel the tendency to swing your body. Bring your legs down slowly when returning to the starting position after each rep and focus on using the lower part of your abs to get them past horizontal.
Try to do sets of 15-20 with your legs fully extended, if possible.
Stability ball sit-ups
These are excellent for your abs and the only other exercise I do for my abs besides the Roman chair. Most gyms have these balls in various sizes. Grab one of the larger ones and sit on it such that the arch of your lower back rests along the curvature of the ball. Extend downwards as far as you can comfortably go for the starting position, and contract your abs and obliques to thrust your chest as high as possible. Go up slowly upwards and slowly back down. Remember, this is a sit-up, not a crunch.
By using the stability ball, you really have to focus on your core to keep yourself balanced during each sit-up. Try to also do sets of 15-20 reps of these.
Sprinting is easily my favorite ab exercise. The process of driving your knees explosively forward as you sprint will work your abs and obliques more intensely than any other exercise. I can’t remember the last time I did a sprint workout and wasn’t sore all around my midsection.
Not to mention, a regular sprinting regimen like the one used in EpicFit20’s Premium Membership will help shed fat from the stomach and oblique area, making the ab muscles look even better.