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10 Abdominal Exercise Substitutions

Today, you’ll discover the replacement list of approved ab exercises for six pack abs AND 1 exercise you should never do.

Print this exercise substitution list and email it to your friends. Heck, you could even post it in your gym.

HERE WE GO – starting with the 1 exercise you should NEVER do…

Now, yesterday I told you how I saw a trainer put his client through a BACK DESTRUCTION exercise, and this is what it was:

The exercise consisted of weighted stability ball crunches, but there were no normal crunches on the ball that you see people do. No way.

You see, the client not only made a full motion to sit up, but continued, violently, in a full body bending motion that ended with her almost putting her head between her knees.

But doing any type of spinal flexion can be detrimental to your lower back because it will compress your spinal discs.

In fact, Dr. Stuart McGill, the world’s leading expert on low back injuries and abdominal training, said in a recent New York Times article, “…there are no crunches, they place devastating loads on the discs.”

Spinal discs are the same discs that herniate in a low back injury. And movements like sit-ups essentially CRUSH the discs between the bones of the spine, causing excruciating pain and nerve damage.

So STOP doing sit-ups and sit-ups!

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

So let’s go over a huge list of ab exercise substitutions:

1) Replace crunches with:

Stability Ball Boards, Climbers, and Knives

2) Replace Crunches (i.e. Twist or Oblique Crunches) with:

Side planks and cross climbers

3) Replace crunches with:

Stability Ball Jackknives, Stability Ball Planks, Stability Ball Pikes, Stability Ball Tosses, and Hanging Knee Raises

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

1) How to increase the difficulty of the Plank

First of all, before moving from the table, you must master it.

Dr. McGill says that everyone should be able to do a plank for 2 minutes at a time.

Now I’ll be honest, I indulged in this exercise last summer and unsurprisingly it was probably one of the reasons I had back pain.

At one point, I was only able to do a strict plank for 75 seconds, but I’ve been back up for 135 seconds, and now my back pain is gone.

You can also do push-ups as they will help you prepare for push-ups if you are a beginner.

Eventually, you’ll move on to the Stability Ball Plank, which is 30% harder on your abs than regular planks.

2) Harder versions of Side Plank

Advanced versions include Side Plank with Leg Raise and Side Plank with DB Lateral Raise (allowing you to train your shoulders at the same time). Dr. McGill adds that we should be able to do side planks for 90 seconds straight.

3) Climber Substitutions

You can use the Spiderman Climb exercise as a replacement, and it’s great for lower body and hip mobility.

A tougher version of mountain climbers is Cross-Body Mountain Climber, and you can also do mountain climbers with your hands on the ball or with your hands on the ground and your feet on the ball.

One of my favorite advanced versions is “Hands on the Floor, Feet on the Ball Cross-body Mountain Climber” or even “EXTREME X-Body Mountain Climber”.

Stability ball NOTE

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

But if you don’t have a ball, you can replace the Stability Ball Plank with the Mountain Climber drill, but it won’t be that hard.

4) How to increase the difficulty of the Stability Ball Jackknife

You will eventually progress to the Stability Ball Pike. And another way to do this exercise is by using TRX straps. That is one of the exercises that TRX improves. Very effective movement. But even with the ball you can intensify your training using this exercise.

5) The Stability Ball Spike

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

6) Alternatives for Stability Ball Deployment

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

Also, you can substitute the ball for a sit-up wheel 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 as you come out and contract them to return to the starting position. This move will leave your abs pretty sore if this is a new exercise for you!

7) Additional Advanced Abdominal Exercises

Once you’ve mastered all of these Stability Ball exercises, you can move on to the traditional advanced abdominal exercises of Hanging Knee Ups and Hanging Leg Raises.

However, you should only do these exercises if you can completely REMOVE the urge from the exercise. DO NOT rock your hips or rock from side to side.

8) Push-ups that work your abs

You should also understand that MANY traditional exercises work your abs and slight variations of traditional movements can work your abs very hard.

For example, some of the best push-ups for abs include:

* high push-ups

* T-bends

* Spiderman push-ups

* Reject Spiderman push-ups

Of course, you’ll get all of this in home workouts for ripped abs.

9) Pulling exercises that work your abs

In the past, I have trained a fit woman who had never been asked to do a chin-up by her previous trainers. So I had him do 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps.

He came back for the next session and couldn’t believe how sore his abs were from this exercise. So again, you’re going to get a lot of abdominal work out of the traditional moves. Other than pull-ups, these are my favorite “full-body muscle-pulling ab exercises.”

* DB renegade row

* pull-ups

* Pull-ups/Pullups with kneeups

* Spiderman Suspenders

Use them to make your workouts more efficient.

10) Shoulder/arm exercises

YES, you can use shoulder and arm exercises to work your abs. Every time you do a standing exercise, you’ll need to brace your abs HARD to maintain a rigid core. That works your abs just as hard as planks and side planks.

Also, in the triceps extension exercise, you stretch your abs as you lower the weight and contract your abs as you contract your triceps to return the dumbbells or barbell to the starting position. I’ve had super sore abs just from doing triceps!

So here are my favorite upper body exercises for abs:

* 1 arm press

* 1 arm curl

* DB triceps extension

I hope you enjoyed that huge list of ab workout substitutions!

Just say NO to crunches!

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