Sick of doing traditional crunches but still want to work on improving your abs? There are plenty of core exercises you can do besides crunches that still give you an ab workout and strengthen your core. A great example is the bird dog exercise, also sometimes called the “bird dog crunch.” Alternative ab exercises or crunch variations are perfect for mixing up your workouts and also beneficial for people who may have back pain and prefer not to lay on their back. Watch as Chris Freytag demonstrates how to do this bird dog exercise for core strength.
The bird dog crunch is actually a variation of a Pilates exercise, and you’ll see why: it consists of specific, controlled movements and really works your abs. You’ll start by coming down onto all fours, keeping your abs engaged. You want your shoulders to be over your wrists and your hips to be over your knees. You’ll take one arm and the opposite leg and extend them out–for example, you may start with your right arm and left leg. You’ll extend your arm and leg, squeeze your glutes, point your toes, and extend your fingertips. Then, you’ll draw your elbow to your knee and round your spine for the “crunch.”
During this bird dog exercise it’s important to keep breathing, drawing an inhale and exhale on the extension and contraction. Getting oxygen to the working muscles helps with any move. When you’re ready, you’ll switch sides (so if you started with the right arm and left leg, then you’ll do the left arm and right leg.) Be sure to keep your lower back from sagging and keep your abdominals engaged the whole time. This move is a great exercise not only for core strength, but also for your glutes and legs!