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6 Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches

How to get great abs without crunches.

Check out the best exercises to get a six pack without crunches, as chosen by Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean X.

Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches

“It is not only possible to get a gut busting ab workout without crunches but it is necessary.  In this video, I’m going to show you 6 ab exercises that will fire up your core in ways you never imagined by training your abs like an athlete.  In order to effectively hit your abs you need to stop focusing on the ability of your abdominals to simply flex your spine and more on their ability to prevent motion as well.”

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“Here, I’m taking WWE superstars Sheamus and Cesaro through an intense series of six ab exercises that will challenge the muscles ability to prevent rotation, produce power rotation and prevent over extension of the spine.  No crunches, no planks and no basic ab exercises are performed in this workout.”

1. Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Leg Lift in Captain’s Chair

“The first ab exercise we cover is the leg lift performed in the captains’ chair.  The key to this move is that we are able to support our upper body through our forearms rather than our shoulders while hanging from a bar.  Particularly for those that have shoulder issues like a torn labrum, being able to take the hang out of the move without sacrificing the effectiveness of the movement on the abs is key.”

2. Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Gymnast Abs Exercise

“Next, we perform a rotational variation on this exercise called the gymnast abs.  Here instead of curling your lower pelvis up towards your shoulders you lift your hips into a posterior tilt.  This is incredibly challenging and takes advantage of relative motion to produce an insanely effective exercise for your abs workouts.”

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3. Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Battle Ropes

“We move onto the battle ropes.  People often think of battle rope workouts as something you do for conditioning or to burn fat.  That doesn’t have to be their limits however.  The battle ropes present a great way to train your core and obliques with alternating rotational slams.  Even better, you should change the posture from which you perform the exercise to make this an even more difficult ab movement.  Start by kneeling and slamming the ropes side to side and progress to a sitting position.  When you gain the ability to, alternate between sitting and kneeling positions throughout the set.”

4. Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Resistance Banded Abs and Oblique Exercise

“Next, we control rotation of the trunk with an oblique and rectus abdominis movement that is easy to perform but tough if you crank up the resistance of the band you use to perform it.  The goal is to keep your arms out straight and directly in front of your chest.  Step out to one side, increasing the resistance on the band and the amount of work the abs have to do to prevent your body from twisting.  When you get strong enough abs, you can jump out to position which will provide a more dynamically challenging movement to have to control.”

5. Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Plank Punch

“Finally, the plank punch out is a much more difficult variation of the common plank.  Planks alone are often not enough to help you to develop a good looking, strong set of abs.  Instead, you need to ramp up the difficulty level by decreasing your base of support and including things like a band and three points of contact to make the abs work much harder.  You will see the instant difference the second you try these.”

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Muscles of the Core and Abs

Most people think that to get a great six-pack, you need only to work your abdominal muscles. This isn’t entirely true. You also need to train the muscles surrounding the core (the obliques and erector spinae) for best results.

Transverse Abdominis

The transverse abdominis is a deep muscle of the core that wraps around your waist. It helps stabilize the spine and pelvis, assists in breathing and coughing.

To contract:

  • Slowly inhale as you curl your rib cage toward your pelvis. Feel this movement through your lower back and abdominal wall.
  • Hold for one second at the top of the contraction, then slowly exhale as you bring yourself back to neutral (a straight line).

To relax:

  • Slowly inhale as you curl forward at the waist, keeping legs straight and chest open. Take 3 seconds to fully exhale with an audible sound before returning to a neutral position (a straight line). For an added challenge, try bending from side to side while keeping hips facing forward instead of rotating them away from each other like a hinge joint would allow; this will also help engage more muscles throughout your entire body during this exercise!

Rectus Abdominis

The rectus abdominis, commonly referred to as the six-pack muscle, is the muscle that you can see when you look at your abs. It forms the six-pack shape and makes up most of the abdominal wall.

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It also plays a major role in abdominal function. It is responsible for flexion and rotation of the trunk as well as potentially contributing some stability to your spine.

Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Internal Obliques

The internal obliques are located on the side of your abdomen. They work to stabilize your spine and rotate the torso, flexing the spine, bending the trunk forward and backward, and rotating it.

Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – External Obliques

The external obliques are the muscles on the sides of your body. They help you twist and rotate your body. They also help stabilize your spine, which is important for core strength training.

External obliques are used in many exercises, including situps and crunches.

Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius is one of the three gluteal muscles located at the lateral part of the hip. It is responsible for abduction of the leg and rotation of the hip. In addition to its primary function as a lateral rotator of your femur, it also serves as a synergist in hip extension by assisting with hip flexion.

Best Exercises to Get Six Pack Abs without Crunches – Erector Spinae

The Erector Spinae is a group of muscles that run along the length of your spine. These muscles are responsible for maintaining posture and are also important for movement.

The Erector Spinae helps you lift your head, and keep it balanced.

These muscles are the ones you need to work to get a great core.

Building a strong core is important for both physical and mental reasons. The proper muscles of the core work together to support your spine, pelvis and torso. Strengthening these muscles can help you move more easily and with less pain, which will make you feel better both physically and mentally.

You can strengthen your core by working all of the muscles that make up your abdominal wall. Your core muscles include:

  • Rectus abdominis (in front)
  • External obliques (on sides)
  • Internal obliques (on back)


If you want to have a great core, then you should work these muscles. They are all important in helping with posture and balance.

Add these 6 exercises into your training to get great abs without using crunches.

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