Kettlebell & Flow: Ditch Crunches for Good

Carve the lean core of your dreams without ever having to do another sit-up.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

What if somebody told you that you can get the toned tummy you’ve always wanted without ever having to get down on the ground to do crunches again? Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! Turns out, all you really need is bodyweight flow and some kettlebells.

Use kettlebells to strengthen core

From a structural standpoint, our core exists to keep us erect and in certain positions. Your trunk is the leader of your upper and lower body: You cannot lift your knee up to walk without your hip flexors and your abs; you can’t rotate or throw a ball without using your obliques (and transverse abdominis). While you may have spent countless hours doing medicine-ball Russian twists, crunches, ab-wheel rollouts, Swiss-ball crunches, planks and cable woodchops, in reality you don’t need those targeted moves to create a six-pack if you’re getting a more well-rounded workout.

How Kettlebell and Flow Workouts Strengthen Your Core

When you start getting into kettlebell and flow workouts, you’ll quickly realize that every exercise is a core exercise (but doesn’t feel like one!). Because these workouts are so dynamic — moving from one position to another — your core is constantly learning to stabilize, especially if you’re holding a kettlebell, at all these different angles. You don’t have to concentrate on any particular movement to deliver a core workout.

Merely holding a kettlebell in the rack position activates your lower back. Going from a kick-through to a crab reach, you’re hitting everything throughout your abdominal wall — and not just in a vague sense, like “oh, you’re moving your body so you’re strengthening it,” but you’re really activating those areas to keep you into those positions and help you flow from one position to another. So rather than think of bodyweight flow as a series of ab movements or core movements, the whole crux of everything done in flow starts with your trunk. When you can focus on gaining stability and moving through the various angles, it builds strength in your entire trunk.

Plus, when you’re in so many different positions with kettlebell or bodyweight flow, you’re strengthening your core from multiple angles — from your glutes up to your chest, which is going to help you with anything you do.

Getting Lean, Feminine Abs

Some women are afraid they’ll get bulky by lifting weights. But if they learn how to do it by generating power throughout their entire body versus just one part — as with kettlebell and bodyweight flow — they’ll get lean and strong without the bulk. In fact, the exercises that create the dreaded “blocky” abs are ab-specific movements, such as leg raises, crunches and weighted moves. But with flow, since it’s working you from every angle equally, you end up sporting a more even build rather than overbuilding one particular area with isolated movements. Now doesn’t that sound more appealing than forcing yourself to dedicate a single portion of your workout to core-specific movements?

Looking to challenge your body from multiple angles, including strength, athleticism, balance, mobility, coordination and power? This summer, we are pairing movement specialist and certified trainer Venus Lau with master kettlebell trainer Marcus Martinez for a series of 30-minute Kettlebell & Flow workouts that will train both your mind and body.

So what are you waiting for? This high-octane program designed exclusively for Oxygen is guaranteed to build incredible resilience, strength and body awareness — so switch things up by choosing kettlebells over dumbbells this summer! Join Kettlebell & Flow today.

Trending on Oxygen Mag