6 Ways to Work the Core Better Than Crunches


Overview of the core:

The core, as a whole, is the foundation of your body. If you want to have a strong body, it is essential that you have a strong foundation. A strong core provides stability of the spine and ensures low risk of injury. All movement is initiated at the core; the muscles in the core are the first to fire at the start of any given movement. The muscles in the core are slightly different from most of the muscles in the body- they are mostly comprised of slow twitch muscle fibers which must be worked with slow and controlled movement, more frequently, and for higher repetitions. The core can be worked every day; however, it is found to be most effective to hit the core for maybe 8-10min approximately 4-days a week. Here are 6 ways to work out the core better than crunches from trainer Dan Durso, head trainer Orange Theory Fitness Scottsdale Ranch:

  1. Ab Pike-15-20 reps – targets the upper and lower abdominals

Legs straight, arms overhead, hands to the feet, slowly lifting the shoulder blades a few inches of the mat. Regression- keep shoulder blades on mat or bend knees if low back pain is present.



  1. Torso Rotation-10-15 reps each side – targets the oblique’s

Legs straight above the body. Arms straight out to the side for a strong base of support. Rotate through the core taking the legs side to side bring the feet close to the ground but a few inches above. Regression-bend the knees rather than keeping them straight.



  1. Side Plank Hip Raise-10-15 reps each side – targets the oblique’s

On one forearm, Stack the feet, line the hips up with the heels and the elbow. Drop the hip close to the floor, squeeze the oblique lift the hip, and repeat. Regression- take the top leg over the top, plant foot, and use for assistance.



  1. V Sit Hold-30 sec to 1 min – targets the upper and lower abdominals

Sitting position, straight legs elevated in front of the body, body at a 45degree angle. Hands out to the side, balance and hold. Regression- bend the knees or keep the legs low, the higher you elevate the legs in front of the body the more tension you will get.



  1. Forearm Plank-beginner-30 sec to 1 min/advanced 1 min+ – targets the transverse abdominals

Plank position on both forearms and toes. Keep the hips low, strong core, squeeze the inner thighs together. Regression- go to the knees but maintain a strong core prevent hyperextension in the low back.



  1. Super Man-low back extension-10-15 reps, hold each rep 3-5 seconds – targets low back (erector spinae)

On the belly, hands extended out in front, legs extended out in back. Press the belly button into the mat forcing a contraction in the lower back. Hold 3-5 seconds, release, and repeat.




Instructor: Dan Durso

Head Trainer OTF Scottsdale Ranch

Hometown: Long Island, NY • Certification/Education • B.S. in Exercise Science, Arizona State University • NSCA Certified in Personal Training • CPR/AED Certified Experience/Specialty • Expert in Nutrition and Wellness • Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy • 10 Years of Personal Training Experience

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