It’s excellent news that you hate sit-ups. Years of research have shown that sit-ups are not the best moves to engage the abdominal muscles or to create enough caloric burn to make a change that is noticeable. Experts also have linked sit-ups to spine compression, which can increase the risk of back pain.
So what should you do to strengthen your core without the crunch?
HIIT it up!: Belly fat is highly stimulated by sympathetic activity. Exercise increases the sympathetic response through the release of epinephrine, dopamine, and other catecholamine, all of which use your fat from your middle as a preferred source of energy.
Exercise intensity matters. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at reducing total abdominal fat, subcutaneous fat, and abdominal visceral fat than low intensity training, concluded a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
What should you do? How about thirty minutes of cardio? Start off with a walk, jog, or cycle. After a five minute warm-up, do intervals of sixty seconds of high-intensity and sixty seconds of low-intensity for recovery, for a total of twenty minutes. Finish with a five minute cool down.
Connect with your entire body Your trunk is where the upper and lower body join together, and the energy is transmitted from the bottom up. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that core exercises that integrate the shoulders and the glutes—such as the mountain climber—challenged the abdominal and back muscles up to 200% more than the oblique crunch and back extension.
Equally, a recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy compared traditional abdominal exercises (crunches and bent-knee-sit-ups) with eight non-traditional abdominal moves (the roll out and the pike exercises). The non-traditional moves provided the most upper and lower rectus abdominis activity, and both external and internal obliques engagement, (more than 60% muscle activation). The traditional exercises generated anywhere from 7% to 40% muscle activation.
The additional benefit of these type of exercises compared to the sit-ups is that they target many muscles at once so the caloric expenditure is greater and the metabolism keeps firing up throughout the day due to the higher exercise intensity.