10 Unconventional Ab Exercises To Strengthen Your Core That Don't Involve Crunches

by Georgina Berbari
Bo Stanley

When you think of ab workouts, you might automatically associate them with the half-assed crunches you do to kill time during the Game of Thrones theme song.

Sit-ups, crunches, and leg lifts: the basic trifecta of workouts that promise to give you abs of steel, but leaves you bored AF and cringing at the mere thought of working your core.

But luckily, you can achieve incredible core strength without ever having to do another crunch again.

Say goodbye to your usual, boring ab workouts and try these 10 unconventional core exercises that are 100 percent crunch-free.

1. Goblet Squat

I know what you're thinking, but trust me, squats aren't just for #BootyGains -- I promise.

Add a dumbbell to the conventional squat and engage your midsection each time you do a rep.

Feel that burn yet?

2. Jump Lunges

These babies are tough AF, and they might even make you miss doing easy-peasy crunches just a little bit.

But the coordination needed for this plyometric exercise requires a hefty amount of core strength and engagement, making it a perfect new challenge for you and your abs.

3. Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

The focus on your breath and precise, meticulous movements in this exercise will leave you with some serious abs of steel.

If you've never tried bench presses, I'd definitely recommend using a spotter your first time around.

(I learned about this the hard way, and no, I don't want to talk about it.)

4. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

You can do this one on a bench, or simply while standing up -- either way, it's killer for your core.

And those toned biceps? Double whammy, baby.

5. Plank Touch

You can do plank touches on your forearms or with straight arms.

In my experience, both variations of this circuit make my obliques feel like they're literally emerging from the dead and coming to life.

Dramatic? Maybe. But the gains are real AF.

6. Push-Ups

Ah, push-ups.

You love to hate them, but hear me out, they're not just good for your arms. Mastering the classic push-up will teach you how to really engage your core and tone your midsection.

Oh, and here are 20 variations to satisfy that little overachiever inside of you.

7. Weighted Side Bends

Obliques on fleek, amirite?

Be sure to keep your core tense and engaged during this exercise. For example, imagine you're preparing for someone to punch you in the stomach.

But don't worry, no one's going to hit you. Unless your workout buddy is a jerk like that.

8. Mountain Climbers

The combination of cardio and ab strength in this exercise is key for a functional, kickass core.

The faster you "climb," the more you'll feel the burn.

Challenge yourself to do as many as you can until you reach that metaphorical peak.

9. Commandos

Didn't you hear? Commando is the new crunch.

You might hate me for these. But your core will thank you for ditching those standard sit-ups.

The combo of a push-up and a plank is what makes commandos so uniquely challenging, but also incredibly effective.

10. Dead Lifts

Dead lifts require all the ab engagement -- and they work your whole bod, too.

Perfect your form by practicing without any weight at first, and add the barbell later on when you feel comfortable.

So long, sit-ups, and good riddance.