Hard Truth: These Are the Ab Workouts You Shouldn't Be Doing

Lindsey Metrus

Tory Sport

If a genie granted me a few wishes, one would probably be to have a set of rock-hard abs that I could achieve by eating pizza and doing nothing else. But since pizza-induced abs will never, ever happen, I'm forced to (begrudgingly) go to the gym and do my usual rotation of ab exercises. Along with some Pilates and planks on an exercise ball, I've also been using an ab machine figuring weighted crunches would help my cause, but Bicycling magazine says otherwise.

"[Using an ab machine is] just generally not a normal range of motion, and you may be working against a weight that isn’t right for you," says Mike Durner, a certified strength and conditioning coach for Carmichael Training Systems.

Durner also advises against one of the most popular ab exercises: crunches. "Not only are these dangerous, as both crunches and abs have been linked with spinal micro-fractures, but they increase strength in a non-athletic way," he explains.

Instead, Durner recommends doing core-strengthening exercises using your own body weight (with some additional help from medicine balls, etc.), as well as a balancing element (like a ball—hey, at least I was doing something right) since doing so will actually engage your muscles more than a machine. Take a look at a few of his favourite ab exercises below.

For more of Durner's tips and favourite moves for a strong core, head over to Bicycling.com, and check out this breathing exercise that will also engage your abdominals.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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