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CrossFit® / June 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom

Skip the Crunches! Do these 4 Core Exercises Instead

Love them or hate them, crop tops are in.

Pair this trend with beach season, and it’s safe to say we’re seeing abs everywhere these days.

And while aesthetics are nice (especially when hard-fought for), it’s important to remember that the benefits of core exercises stem far beyond a sculpted six pack.

“Core exercises are some of my favorites!” says seven-time Reebok CrossFit Games competitor Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, who will be returning to the Games for an eighth time this summer.

“There are so many health benefits to having a strong core, so regardless of your fitness ability, it’s important to make sure you’re always incorporating movements that work the midline into your workouts,” she adds.

We know what you’re thinking: You’ve been doing crunches at every workout but you’re just not seeing those desired results. Perhaps that’s because, contrary to popular belief, crunches are not the be-all-end-all of core exercises.

“You don’t have to do a million crunches to build a strong core,” attests Leblanc-Bazinet. “That would get really boring, and actually, there are a lot of other movements that are more efficient.”

Below, she demonstrates four of her favorites, breaking down how you too can master them on your own.

Leblanc-Bazinet’s No. 1 piece of advice as you begin integrating these into your routine?

“Keep working hard all year on using these exercises to strengthen your midline,” she says. 

“If the summer is what prompted you to start doing these exercises, don’t just stop doing them when September hits. If you keep it up, you’ll be so proud of yourself by next summer and a lot fitter, too.”

1. Toes to Bar

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Hold onto a bar with hands gripping just wider than the shoulders. While performing a kip swing, the legs will naturally move behind the body. In that same swift motion, swing the legs in front of the body and face so the toes touch the bar. Lower the legs back down and repeat. This movement requires a lot of core strength, so if legs are unable to reach the bar, perform a scaled version where the knees touch the elbows.

2. V-up's

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Lay on the back with arms and legs hovering slightly above the ground. At the same time, raise the legs and arms, forming a V-shape position. When fingers touch toes, slowly lower back down to the starting position and repeat.

3. Dumbbell Overhead Squat

camille-leblanc-bazinet-dumbbell-overhead-squat

Find one heavy dumbbell, place it in the right hand, and hold it overhead. With feet in a squat stance just outside of the shoulders, squat down and back up, keeping the weighted dumbbell locked out overhead throughout. Be sure not to bend the arm holding the dumbbell.

4. Kettlebell Side Bend

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Choose a medium weight kettlebell and place it in the right hand. With feet again in a squat stance, keep the legs planted while bending shoulders and head over to the side. Raise back up to the neutral starting position.

What's your go-to movement for crushing the midline? Tweet @Reebok to let us know.

CrossFit® / June 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom