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6 Core Exercises You Haven't Tried Yet (They're Not Crunches)

Polina Liu
December 21, 2015
Polina Liu
Written by
December 21, 2015

You can crunch all day long, but that one abdominal move isn't going to get you a toned, flat stomach. Here are some advanced exercises that will really torch your abs and core muscles!

1. Hollow

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This is deceptively simple but, when done properly, will crush your core, mainly your transversus abdominis. This muscle goes sideways across your torso and is the main muscle to train when you want a flat stomach. Here's how to do it:

  • Lie on your back and press your lower back into the floor. Inhale.
  • Slowly exhale and extend your arms and legs out, keeping both off the floor.
  • The key here is to exhale fully and keep pressing your lower back into the floor. The slower you exhale, the more tension in your abs

2. Overhead And Under Carry

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This great exercise combines core training and conditioning. Simply grab a pair of heavy dumbbells or kettlebells, press one overhead, carry the second one in the other hand and go for a walk. Make sure your hips stay level, back remains neutral, and the holding arm is perfectly straight. Switch arms and repeat.

3. Saxon Side Bend

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Arthur Saxon, nicknamed "The Iron Master" in the 19th century, is frequently used to show the “perfect” male physique with chiseled abs and well-defined waist. The "Saxon Side Bend" was one of his most popular exercises for developing his midsection. Go light with this! Eight-pound dumbbells are plenty challenging, and sometimes I start clients with 4 or 5 pounds. Here's how to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and press the weights overhead.
  • Keeping a straight back, lean to your right as far as is comfortable.
  • Keep your arms straight at all times. Elbows unlocked.
  • Return to the start position and repeat on your left.

4. Medicine Ball Slams

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The medicine ball slam is a great way to develop total core strength — and it’s also just a huge amount of fun. A perfect way to de-stress after a hard day!

  • Hold a medicine ball and adopt the “power stance,” as though you're about to drop into a squat.
  • Lift the medicine ball up overhead rapidly and inhale. It's okay if you raise up on your toes.
  • Exhale sharply and slam the medicine ball back into the ground with force, put your whole body into the action!
  • Pick up and repeat.

5. Plank Slides

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What do we do when we want to overload our planks? We do plank slides! You’ll need some slide boards, which you can find on Amazon.

  • Adopt a plank position with your hands on the boards
  • Slide one arm forward as far as you can go whilst flexing the other arm as though you’re performing a push-up.
  • Keep your body level: no popping the hips up and no twisting!
  • Slide the extended arm back and push up with the flexed arm to return to the start position.
  • You can modify the exercise to make it easier by starting on your knees.

6. Dip Bar Pikes

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Get on a set of dip bars and, using your core and your glutes, pull your hips back and up as far as you can go.

This exercise is NOT a leg raise; pull your hips back and up! Return to the start position and repeat. Unlike leg raises, which primarily work your hip flexors, this pike variation really emphasizes your abdominals.

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Polina Liu

Polina Kovalevska is a personal trainer, based in London. is a project for women who have been overlooking their health and fitness due to the responsibilities of work and family life. The aim is to help women overcome their fitness fears and make exercise a happy daily habit, which will improve their health, fitness, raise energy and confidence.