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Side Crunch Exercise

We’ve probably all done crunches before, even in school gym classes, and although they are effective, they can feel kind of old and boring. But side crunches are definitely not! They are considerably more challenging than a typical crunch, and are a great way to strengthen the muscles on the sides of your core, such as obliques. Watch this video demonstration to see how to do it, and be sure to do both sides. One of the hardest things is to keep your top knee/leg from floating up when you crunch up, so be sure to keep it anchored down.

Lie on one side, bend your knees, and bring them out in front of your hips for stability. Engage your core to lift your shoulders up and bring your hands gently behind your neck. Your hands are just there for support, not to pull on your neck and create tension. Your core and torso will be rotated so you look towards the sky or ceiling. Crunch to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground a few inches, and then lower down to a hover with control. Repeat for a set of 8 or 16 and switch sides!

P.S. Did you notice the butterfly fly by in this video?! I was so excited!

I first learned this exercise during a live Instagram ballet class with Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, some of my favorite ballet dancers who do live ballet classes so people can dance and keep up on ballet technique at home. Something really fun is that they were the leads in Swan Lake when I saw it in NYC many years ago when I was doing the Joffrey Ballet intensive - this was the first professional ballet I ever saw, and it was amazing and they were incredible. So it has been so cool to be taking classes with them virtually and I feel like I have gotten to know them!

This move was featured in one of their Cardio Wednesday classes! I wanted to share it since I thought it was a great and different ab exercise. If you are a dancer, I highly recommend checking out their classes - they are at 1 PM CST/2 PM EST every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They are so funny and creative, and do extra conditioning and cardio on Wednesdays, and fun themes on Fridays. Sometimes they bring in amazing guest artists to teach class, and they always have optional donations for a variety of worthy organizations.


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