With Spring Break just around the corner, everyone is hitting the gym to get into swimsuit shape. Next to a great pair of sunglasses and a golden tan, a flat stomach is a must half for that bikini body. However, trying to "crunch" your way to a toned tummy may not be your best bet. Fitness expert and owner of Phenomenal Fitness, Sean Armstead, suggest of all the exercises needed to target abdominals are completely crunch free.
"Building core strength is essential for not only optimum health, but also to achieve a tighter midsection," says Armstead. "A person's core actually consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso. Target all these muscle groups is more effective than solely on the abdominals."
Here are Armstead's top "crunch-less" abs exercises:
1. In a seated position on the floor, lean back and keep your shoulders down and back.
2. Cross your arms and twist from side to side.
Side Planks with Dip
1. Lie on your side in a plank position with forearm on the floor, elbows under your shoulders and feet stacked.
2. Bring your hips up until your body is in a straight line.
3. Dip your hips towards the floor and back to starting position.
Plank Low Crawl (8 to 15 reps)
1. Start in a plank position with forearms on the floor.
2. Bring knee up toward the shoulder while looking at the moving knee doing a tight side crunch. Repeat on the other side, that is one rep.
Plank March (10-15 reps)
1. Assume a push up position.
2. Bring one knee toward your chest without toes touching floor hold for a second then repeat that is one.
Hip Lifts (10-15 reps)
1. Lie on the floor with feet pointed towards the ceiling and arms out to the side.
2. Keeping your legs straight, lift your hips off the floor and press your feet towards the ceiling.
The Folding Chair (8 to 15 reps)
1. Sit tall with your hands on the floor behind you and your legs bent and held up off the floor; in this position you are balanced on your butt and palms.
2. Bend your knees in and move your chest forward so that they move toward each other and come together just over your hips. Hold a moment and then return to the start.
About Phenomenal Fitness:
Owner of Phenomenal Fitness and Illinois State Director for the National Strength and Conditioning Association Sean Armstead has been a personal trainer since 1993. Sean's fitness creed is: "The heart of a successful conditioning program is commitment, consistency and correctness." The Phenomenal Fitness approach to training is based on a screening process that allows the staff to discover what each individual needs. A program is developed to emphasize muscle balance and optimal joint function through body alignment, stability, muscle strength, and power. For more information, please contact Sean Armstead at 312.360.0303, or visit their website at phenomenalfitness.com