Crunch-Free Abs

Is it possible to have great abs without doing sit-ups or crunches?

Fitness expert Scott Cole, co-author of the new book "Athletic Abs" and creator of the new video "Crunch-Free Abs, says he's got some innovative exercises to firm up, tone up, and get you absolutely ready for summer swimwear.

The following exercises can be done alone or with a partner. He will demonstrate them on The Early Show, Tuesday. And best of all you don't have to be trained in martial arts to do them.

  1. Pursed Lip Exhale Punch Drill - A pursed lip exhale actually works the abs, and can be done anywhere, anytime, but may attract attention, and the purpose is not to hyperventilate but learn to be aware of your core, like a martial artist.
  2. Slipping A Punch - Leaning side to side to avoid a punch is great for the obliques and sides. Maintain a strong leg base, negotiate with your partner, breathe, and feel the results.
  3. Bob And Weave - Great for the torso, abs, and lower back, this one uses all of your body and really showcases the midsection as your true stabilizing muscles.
  4. "Heaven Hands" - A beautiful Chi Kung/Tai Chi move that has internal healing applications as well as martial defense applications. Doing it slowly, feel the healing benefits of your breathing, the protection of your internal organs, the improvement of digestion, and the functional role of your abs as you turn your waist. As you relax into it, moving more quickly, experience the martial application of deflection at work.
  5. Ab Stretch - Flexibility and range of motion is important for any muscle group, and the abs are no exception. The more flexible you are through your abs, obliques, and back, the more potential muscle recruitment, the faster your metabolism, and the more comfortable you will be as you glide effortlessly through life, showcasing your six-pack!

Finally, finish your workout with a good stretch. Cole says stretching is very important. It improves your range of motion and muscle recruitment.

"Some people are so tight that they really can't do a proper crunch, and they'd be better off taking a flexibility class, yoga, or tai chi, than lifting weights adding more tightness upon tightness," he says.

His ab exercises can be done every day, but Cole suggests doing them every other day since the body gets used to routine quickly. "I recommend activity every day, and do these exercises every other day, and every time you lift weights or feel your muscles tighten or shorten, stretch them out. You'll see huge progress as you become more flexible," he said.