Crossfit Star Kari Pearce Trusts These 3 Six-Pack Exercises

For many, sit-ups are an integral part of their abdominal workout. The classic has proven its worth, but according to CrossFit star Kari Pearce, there are exercises that can replace it, and they’re even more effective.

Lie down on the floor, bend your legs, place your hands behind your head and lift your upper body off the floor in a controlled manner – that’s how the crunch works. If you train your core, you certainly have done it often. However, if you’re looking for a change, you can take inspiration from crossfitter Kari Pearce. The American bets on three abdominal exercises that, according to her experience, are fun and even more effective than the crunch.

What is Kari Pearce’s abs workout all about?

When it comes to hardened muscles, Kari Pearce knows exactly what she’s talking about. The 32-year-old is taking part in the Crossfit Games for the seventh time this year. She was officially the Fittest American Woman by her in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So getting strength training advice from her isn’t a bad idea.

Kari Pearce
Kari Pearce became a CrossFit star after her gymnastics careerPhoto: Richard Veytsman

When it comes to abdominal training, Pearce focuses on fun and effectiveness. Crunches are not among the exercises he would recommend for strengthening and defining core muscles. “I firmly believe that sit-ups are an overrated exercise,” explains the athlete in an interview with “Insider.” “People don’t learn how to properly activate their muscles.”

Pearce, who was a competitive gymnast for many years prior to her CrossFit career, is an expert when it comes to stability and core strength. That’s why she now offers her personal “Abs Workout” on her home page to interested people. For a six-pack, the power woman relies on high-intensity exercises and hard 10-minute daily workouts. Short but regular training sessions would go a long way, she emphasizes in the “Insider” interview: “If you’re having fun, then you’re more likely to stick with it. If you train really hard, you get great results.”

Also interesting: 30-minute full-body workout with a focus on the core

Three abdominal exercises that are more effective than sit-ups

You won’t find the crisis in Pearce’s workouts. But what abdominal exercises does he recommend instead? The answer: hollow body holds, leg raises on the barbell pull-ups and burpees.

hollow body fasteners

Pearce describes the hollow body as one of the simplest yet most effective abdominal exercises. For proper execution, lie flat on your back on the floor, press your lower back into the floor, and raise your arms and legs straight above your head. This position is maintained and can also be used as a starting position for more abdominal exercises. These include the exercise known as the jackknife or V-up, as well as sit-ups and bicycle crunches.

Kari Pearce does leg lifts
Hollow body holds are all about keeping your lower back grounded and your abs tight.Photo: Kari Pearce

Leg raises on the pull-up bar with weights

A major athletic challenge is leg raises on the pull-up bar, in which Pearce also uses a weight in the form of a medicine ball. For the abdominal exercise, grasp this between your feet, stand with your arms outstretched “hanging” from a pull-up bar, and raise your legs parallel to the floor in front of you. Easier, but just as effective, the exercise is performed without the added weight, i.e. as a pure bodyweight exercise.

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Last but not least, Kari Pearce relies on burpees as an effective alternative to crunches. The abdominal exercise, which he seems to love or hate, trains the entire body, including the core, according to the crossfitter: “Burpees are among the best exercises for visible abs.” They also burn calories, which also helps build the muscles you want to define. “One of the biggest misconceptions is that abdominal exercises melt belly fat. We can build muscle with them, but they don’t show until you lose body fat as well.”

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