There’s more to strengthening the abs than just the crunch, as shown by Fuel Athletics trainer Hawari Farihin, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup

1. Abdominal crunches
Your abdominal muscles are part of your core. The stronger your core muscles are, the stronger you will be, and the easier it is for you to do physical activities.

There are many variations to the crunch, but it all starts by lying down on a padded floor. Then bring everything in by lifting your shoulders, torso and legs off the floor — you’re basically hinging from your hips. Keep your arms straight in front of you.

To finish the exercise, lower your head and shoulders to the ground, move your arms to the back of your head but keep the legs straight and airborne. Repeat 15 times.

Abdominal crunches.

2. Side crunch
The side crunch targets the oblique muscle, colloquially known as the side abs muscle. The move is similar to the abdominal crunch, but with the body at an angle.

From a lying down position, extend your right forearm to the floor to help balance your body as you lean sideways.

Side crunch 1. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

Then pull your legs inwards before pushing them away from your body. Keep the legs straight and off the ground. Do this 15 times and repeat on the left side for a complete oblique muscle workout.

Side crunch 2. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

3. Side plank
The side plank is said to be good at averting back pain, as it works a muscle on the posterior abdominal wall where a lot of back pain originates from.

Start on your side with your feet stacked together and hips on the ground. Extend one forearm directly below your shoulder to prop your torso up. Then lift your hips and knees off the floor, hold and raise your free arm upwards to the ceiling.

Side plank 1. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

Side plank 2. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

Return to the starting position, and repeat another 14 times. Roll onto the other side and repeat. To make things more challenging, try having the palm of your hands on the floor as you lift your body.

Side plank 3. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

Side plank 4. Photo by Rohanis Shukri.

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