Fitness Pros Say This Core Move Blows Basic Crunches Out of the Water

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Photo: Getty Images/NazariyKarkhut
When a chiropractor recently told us that "crunches are crap," our jaws nearly dropped to the floor. The move has long been lauded as one of the best-of-the-best ways to work your core, and is a mainstay in every modality from HIIT to Pilates. But while the move may be an A-plus way to strengthen your abs, it comes along with its fair share of posture-related issues. So instead, pros recommend an even better-for-your body move to fire up that midsection: A full-on hips dips workout.

Plank rocks with side-to-side knee dips are a way to fire up your whole body. "These moves get the whole abdominal wall, legs, arms, chest, using all the muscles to create stability while pulling the abs up and in, creating a solid, one-piece core," says Sweat Pilates founder Moe D.  "Whereas when doing crunches, many people push the belly out instead of pulling down and into the center of the body, and the rounding up action can put strain on the back and neck."

To master the move, you'll first want to work your way up to a perfect forearm plank. Start with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders, and your forearms glued to the mat parallel to each other. Engage your core and glutes to create a single, straight line from the top of your head down to your feet, and be sure to avoid letting your hips drop.

Once you've got that down, you can add in the motions that make up the compound version of the move. Start by rocking your body forward so your head extends slightly beyond your fingertips, then roll back on the balls of your feet. Return to center, and use your oblique muscles to dip one hip as close to the floor as you can get it, then move through your plank to dip down to the other side.


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