Looking to shrink your stomach and tone your abs? Then it’s time to put them to work! But watch out! Crunches might look easy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to your technique! The FizzUp trainer will help you spot the mistakes you could be making. Let him be your guide to the perfect crunch!
Many crunch variations have you place your hands behind your head, but in doing so, many people think they should pull on their neck to help them do the exercise. Not so! This pushes your chin to your chest and keeps you from fully working your abs. You’ll also throw off the alignment of your spine and put your neck in a position that’s prone to injury. You shouldn’t be using your hands to put pressure on your neck in order to do the exercise.
FizzUp trainer’s tip: Although crunches don’t pose many risks of injury, it’s good to pay attention to your posture and how your spine is positioned so that you can still get the most out of this exercise without hurting yourself. For the perfect crunch, keep your spine aligned between your lower back and the back of your neck. Try to keep a distance between your chin and your chest throughout the exercise. You can cross your arms over your chest or place just your fingertips on your temples as you point your elbows toward your feet.
The goal of this exercise isn’t to do several repetitions as fast as you can, but rather to focus on engaging your abs. If you rush through the exercise, you’ll be using momentum rather than strength, which doesn’t work your abs at all. And even worse, this puts extra pressure on your joints and makes you more prone to injury.
FizzUp trainer’s tip: For the perfect crunch, you need to focus on contracting your abs with slow and controlled movements, which puts your muscle fibers to work as much as possible to make every repetition all the more effective.
Holding in your breath won’t make your crunches better. Besides cutting off your muscles’ oxygen supply, this prevents you from thoroughly contracting your abs once you reach the end of the movement, making it harder for you to get results with this exercise.
Always exhale when you do a movement that bends your spine if you want to really work your abs and deep muscles.
FizzUp trainer’s tip: To do the perfect crunch, use a full range of motion as you let out a deep breath to contract all your abs from the inside out when you raise your chest. Remember to pull in your navel as far as you can toward your spine. When you come back down into the starting position, take a deep breath in to help your muscles recover and make the set last as long as possible.
It’s just as important to challenge your abs as it is to challenge any other muscles. Your body adapts to the physical demands of your workout, so you need to keep turning up the intensity to keep feeling the difference. A continuously evolving workout is one that will get you results.
If your routine always includes 3 sets of 20 repetitions for an exercise every time you work out, then it’s probably a good time to turn it up a notch using the progressive overload method (gradually increasing the difficulty over time).
FizzUp trainer’s tip: Besides adding ankle weights or putting a dumbbell over your feet to stimulate the target muscle even more, you can also do more repetitions, do a different abs exercise or shorten your rest time between sets. Simply put, you always need to challenge yourself so that your progress continues.
Although keeping your back straight is key when you do exercises such as pull-ups and squats, if you keep your back straight when you do crunches, you won’t be able to bend your spine to activate your abs.
FizzUp trainer’s tip: Keeping your back flat keeps your six-pack muscles from performing their main function (bending your spine) besides making you work your hips instead of your abs, which slows down your results. To build these muscles, you need to shorten them, then stretch them out, which can only be done using dynamic actions (using movement) with a wide enough range of motion. Try curling your spine in a single, controlled movement, then uncurling it using an eccentric contraction (stretching the muscle) to better work your six-pack muscles and do the perfect crunch.
With these five tips for the perfect crunch under your belt, you’re ready to get results! Activate the Six-Pack Add-on* to sculpt your stomach and try the Abs Focus* to master your technique.
*FizzUp PRO feature