carlos-studio-logoTime to stop doing crunches! They are not the most effective abs exercise. Other, better core exercises – such as plank variations – help train side and back muscles to stabilize the spine and pelvis so you can avoid back pain, improve posture, get a lean, flat stomach. Here are nine more effective exercises you wouldn’t typically associate immediately with the phrase “Wanna do some abs?”

1. Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers are a metabolism-boosting move. They burn calories and strengthen your core, hips, and thighs.

Start off in a push-up position by flexing one knee in and pushing one leg behind you.

Switch your legs quickly into same stance and repeat for 20-30 seconds.

Return back to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise for as many repetitions as needed.

2. Med Ball Overhead Slams

This is a full-body, multi-joint exercisevthat generates explosive power from your core.

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms behind your head holding a medicine ball.

Raise the ball above your head. fully extending your body and arms.

Using force, slam the ball into the ground in front of you as hard as you can and follow through.

Grab the ball when it bounces back up, and repeat.

Carlos-location-logo3. Overhead Lunges

The Overhead Lunge builds lower body strength in the quads, glutes and core, while improving balance and proprioception (“sensing” your own body).

Hold a weight plate, weighted bar, kettlebell, or dumbbells overhead, with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.

Keep the weight directly overhead (in line with the shoulder joint), and take a comfortable step forward into a deep lunge position.

Make sure your forward knee remains over your forward foot.

Forcefully drive your forward heel in to the ground and return to the starting position.

4. Walkouts

Walkouts build strength in your anterior core and lats.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly (more if needed) and place both hands flat on the ground.

Keeping your feet planted and legs extended, walk your hands away from your body, as far past your shoulders as you can, until you are in a full plank position.

Hold for one count at the furthest point, and then walk your hands back to your feet and slowly return to standing.

5. Farmer Walks

Farmer Walks are surprisingly effective for the core – they also build grip and walking strength.

Pick up a dumbbell in each hand, hold them by your sides,

Walk around your training area for a set distance or time (about 60 seconds is usually good).

Note: You can also perform Farmer Walks carrying kettlebells or any other heavy object. Take care not to drop the weights on your toes when your hands get tired!

6. Weighted Plank

This is a simple, yet extremely effective whole-body exercise. The Weighted Plank is a more difficult progression of the bodyweight plank because of an added weight plate. It also helps if you have a training partner or someone to help you position the weight plate.

Position yourself onto your elbows and toes. 

Lift your hips off the floor, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Raise your arms and squeeze your glutes.

Have your training partner gently place the weight plate on your back. Do not let your hips sag with this additional weight. 

Hold this position for the time you need.

Note: Don’t put the weight on your lower back alone. 

For more information or to book a class, visit

The Phoenix Effecta metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at 7264 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA.

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