Expert Q&A: "How Can I Get Great Abs Without Doing Sit Ups?"

Posted 11/18/11 at 07:08AM by Audrey Fine

We're into week three of our four-part question and answer series with My Beauty Life's fitness expert, Brooke Marrone.

For this installment, we're going to focus on getting tighter, flatter tummies without even mentioning the words "crunch" or "sit up" -- sound good?

You have Melanie from Decatur, Ill. to thank because she wrote in and said, "I have a really bad back and can't do sit ups! Is there any other way to get good abs?"

We'll let Marrone take it from here

"You're not alone with having a bad back, Melanie. But, luckily for you -- and the hoards of other people with bad backs -- crunches aren't even the most effective way to tone your core.

My go-to abs exercise is the low plank. The plank is great because it works your deepest abdominal muscles, your core-stabilizing muscles, and even your arms, chest, back, and hips. Yes, all those groups with just one exercise. There are so many different, fun, and challenging versions of the plank, but this one is the best to start with:

Begin on your hands and knees and then place your elbows on the floor or mat, directly under your shoulders. Extend legs out, keeping your body in a straight line and all of your weight pushed back into your heels and out of your shoulders. Keep your head a natural extension of your spine, abs tight, and never let your hips sink toward the floor. Imagine pulling your belly button into your spine. Make sure you keep your shoulders down and back and squeeze your legs together for additional support.

Start by holding this position for four 15-second rounds, then increase the time you hold your low plank, trying to get up to a few one-minute intervals.
And the survey says...
1-6 of 6 Comments

  • Posted by EricaF123 on 12/29/12 at 05:08pm

    Thanks

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  • Posted by beautybody on 03/25/12 at 09:36pm

    Planks are tough, but they payoff is worth the effort.

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  • Posted by powerwoman033 on 03/15/12 at 09:02am

    This is the easiest stomach exercise I've ever seen! I think I will give the plank a try. My stomach area is a mess from having back to back pregnancies, and no matter how I eat, or how much I work out, my stomach muscles need some serious help!

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  • Posted by grass on 12/04/11 at 11:14pm

    That's true, planks are good.. I can do full plank for one minute. It's definitely toned my abs a bit. Now I'm trying to do it everyday after a 15-minute run on the threadmill.

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  • Posted by LipglossandSpandex on 12/01/11 at 10:39pm

    Planks are definitely good for your abs... but having rock hard abs isn't helpful if you have a lot of fat on top of it! That's why eating right is also important.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by kiley_marie on 11/22/11 at 08:45am

    I have the same problem with my back! thanks so much!

    Report Abuse

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