I saw a trainer (one time) put his client through a BACK-DESTROYING exercise, and here’s what it was: 

The exercise was weighted Stability Ball Crunches – but there were not normal crunches on the ball that you see people do. You see, not only did the client do a full-on sit-up motion, but she kept going – violently – into a total body flexion movement that ended with her almost putting her head between her knees. 

But doing any type of spinal flexion can be harmful to your low back because this will compress the disks in your spine. 

The disks in your spine are the same disks that get herniated in low back injury. And moves like sit-ups essentially CRUSH the disks between the bones in your spine, causing terrible pain and nerve damage. 

So STOP doing crunches and sit-ups, especially WEIGHTED sit ups. Your abdominal region is also a muscle. If you add additional tension/weight to your midsection, then it will cause it to expand just like when you perform a bicep curl. 

Fortunately, you can still get six-pack abs and a flat, sexy stomach by using back-friendly ab exercises instead. 

Let’s review a huge list of ab exercise substitutions: 

1) Replace crunches with:

– Planks, mountain climbers, and stability ball jackknives 

2) Replace cross-crunches (i.e. twisting or oblique crunches) with:

– Side planks and cross-body mountain climbers 
3) Replace sit-ups with:

– Stability ball jackknives, stability ball planks, stability ball pikes, stability ball rollouts, and hanging knee raises. 

Now let’s take a look at how we can make some of these back-friendly ab exercises even harder for your abs: 

1) ➡️How to increase the difficulty of the Plank⬅️

First of all, before you move on from the plank, you have to master it. 

You can also do pushup-planks, as those will help prepare you for pushups if you are a beginner. 

Eventually you will graduate to the Stability Ball Plank, which is 30% harder for your abs than regular planks. 

2) ➡️Harder versions of the Side Plank⬅️

Advanced versions include the Side Plank with Leg Raise and Side Plank with DB Lateral Raise (allowing you to train your shoulders at the same time). 

3) ➡️Mountain Climbers substitutions⬅️

You can use the Spiderman Climb OR SpiderMan Push Up exercise as a replacement, and this is excellent for lower-body and hip mobility. 

                       !!!Stability Ball NOTE!!!
If you don’t have a ball, you need to get one. They are cheap, and I’m not asking you to do any dangerous circus tricks on them.

But if you don’t have a ball, you can replace the Stability Ball Plank with the Mountain Climber exercise, but it will not be as difficult. 
4) ➡️How to increase the difficulty of the Stability Ball Jackknife⬅️

Eventually you’ll progress to the Stability Ball Pike. And another way to do this exercise is using the TRX straps. That is one of the exercises that gets improved by the TRX. Very effective movement. But even with the ball you can step up your training by using this exercise. 

5) ➡️The Stability Ball Pike⬅️

This is another exercise improved by using the TRX, as well as a cool toy I bought called the Power Wheel. The key to the exercise is raising your hips up as high as possible, and again, using the Power Wheel or TRX allows you to do that better. 

6) ➡️Alternatives for the Stability Ball Rollout⬅️

If you are new to this exercise, you can use a modified Roll-out. 

Plus, you can substitute an ab wheel in place of the ball or you can even use the TRX in a similar type of movement. It works because you are fighting the extension of your torso. 

Stretch your abs on the way out, and contract your abs to return to the starting position. This movement will leave your abs quite sore if it is a new exercise for you! 

7) ➡️Additional Advanced Abs Exercises⬅️

Once you’ve dominated all of these Stability Ball exercises, you can move to traditional advanced ab exercises of of Hanging Knee Ups and Hanging Leg Raises. 

However, you should only do these exercises if you can fully ELIMINATE momentum from the exercise. Do NOT swing your hips or rock back and forth. 

8) ➡️Pushups That Workout Your Abs ⬅️

You should also understand that a LOT of traditional exercises work 

your abs and slight variations of traditional moves can work your abs very hard. 

For example, some of the better pushups for abs include: 

* Medicine Ball Pushups 

* Plyo Push Ups 

* Spiderman Pushups 

* Decline Spiderman Pushups 
9) ➡️Pulling Exercises that work your abs⬅️

Back in the day, I trained a fit woman who had never been asked to do a chin-up by her previous trainers. 

She came back the next session and couldn’t believe how sore her abs were from this exercise. So again, you will get a lot of ab work from traditional movements. In addition to the chin-up, here are my favorite “total body pulling muscle ab exercises”. 

* Pullups 

* Chinups/Pullups with kneeups 

* Plank Style Dumbbell Rows 

Use those to make your workouts more efficient. 

10) ➡️Shoulder/Arm Exercises⬅️ 

YES, you can use shoulder and arm exercises to work your abs. Any time you do a standing exercise, you’ll need to brace your abs HARD in order to maintain a stiff torso. That works your abs as hard as planks and side planks. 

Plus, in the triceps extension exercise, you are stretching your abs as you lower the weight and contracting your abs as you contract your triceps to return the dumbbells or bar to the start position. 

So here are my favorite upper body exercises for abs: 

* 1-Arm Press 

* 1-Arm Curl 

* DB Triceps Extension 

Hope you enjoyed that massive list of ab exercise substitutions! 

Just say NO to crunches!!! 








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