Many people have weak abdominal and lower back, two muscle groups which are commonly neglected. Crunches strengthen and tone these muscles. There are many variations of crunch, but let’s look at the basic crunch this time. Basic crunch may look easy, but some people are doing it in poor form and making the workout less effective.
Steps To Do Crunch Correctly:
- Lie on your back on an exercise mat or carpeted surface. Bend your knees with your feet to provide necessary support for your lower back. Your feet is planted firmly on the surface. Cross your arms over your chest.
- Using the strength of your abdominal muscles, slowly lift your upper torso off the floor toward your thighs. This range of movement should be very short. Your shoulders should not be more than 30 degrees above the ground. Do not try to touch your thighs, as this can overstress your lower back.
- Pause for a second once you reach the top of the crunch. Exhale.
- Keep constant tension on your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise.
- With a controlled motion, return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 to 20 repetitions.
- Do not try to 100 crunches at one go. What is more important is the quality. Make sure you do them correctly.
- Your lower back should remain flat on the ground at all times.
- Some people place their hands behind their heads. I do not recommend you to do so because many tend to pull on the neck, and not using abs, to complete the workout. If you still want to do put your hands behind, make sure your finger tips touch lightly your ears.
- There are many ways you can make this exercise more advanced. I will share with you two of the common ways:
- One is to use weights for extra load. Hold a weight plate or light dumbbell in front of your chest for extra resistance as you perform the crunch.
- The other way is to do your crunches on a stability ball. Using a ball forces your abdominals to work harder just to stabilize you atop the ball.
- Lie back on the stability ball so that it supports your lower back
- Keep your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- As you do in the regular Crunch, cross your arms over your chest (or have them over your head) and slowly raise your shoulders to no more than a 45-degree angle from the horizontal. Hold, then lower slowly. You can make this version even more difficult by moving your feet closer together.
You can do 100,000 repetition of crunches yet do not see your six-pack. Why? Because it is covered in fat. So, you still need to watch your diet and do cardiovascular exercise to burn that fat. Once that “jelly belly” is gone, it is time to show off your wash board flat abs in your swimsuit.
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