Crunches are some of the best exercises to work your abs and core muscles, but they're not the only exercises that get the job done. If you're like me, you likely get exhausted with crunches upon crunches, only to find your tailbone is screaming for a break. And with a tired core and sore tailbone, I can often feel resigned to skip my next core workout.
To find just the right combination of movements that still give me that intense workout I crave but also give my tailbone a break, I tapped Peloton Senior Instructor and Under Armour Athlete Emma Lovewell.
"Planks are one of my favorite core exercises," Lovewell said, noting that planks are a great way to track your progress in building up core strength, simply by timing yourself to see how long you can hold your plank. "There are also a ton of plank variations, modifications, and progressions," she added.
But don't be fooled by this three-movement series: It's a core buster. Recently, I tossed on my UA Infinity High Sports Bra ($60) and rolled out my exercise mat to put this series to the test. Get Lovewell's full core workout below.
Bear Plank Into Tall Plank
- Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and toes tucked under.
- Exhale and engage your core, while pulling your belly button closer to your spine and lifting your knees so they're hovering a couple inches off the ground.
- Hold this position and then extend one leg out behind you, followed by the other, into a strong tall plank.
- Bring your feet back into your bear plank, don't let your knees touch the ground, and repeat.
- Hold for 30 seconds
Side Plank Twist
- Keep your knees stacked on top of each other.
- Keep your legs bent during the side plank and balance on your right hand to start. ("You can also progress this move by doing your side plank up on your feet instead of knees," says Lovewell.)
- Raise your left arm up straight toward the sky. On your exhale, take your left arm that's raised and wrap it under your body slightly, twisting toward the ground while also thinking of lifting your hips up toward the sky.
- Try for 8-10 seconds on one side, and then repeat on the opposite side.
Body Saw Plank
- Start with an elbow plank, with your feet tucked under, your body straight as a board, and your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Slowly shift your body forward, and then slowly come back to the starting position. (Note: you will be on your toes during this exercise.)
- Repeat this move for 30 seconds.