Want to get a toned stomach or a six-pack for summer? Then the crunch is for you. What makes this the most popular abdominal strength training exercise must be the fact that it’s easy and doesn’t require any equipment, not to mention its ability to effectively help you achieve your aesthetic goals. In fact, regularly doing crunches and their variations along with eating a healthy and balanced diet makes it possible to get the abs of your dreams in minimum time.
Although it’s an exercise that everyone’s familiar with and is often considered easy to do, there are still a few rules you should follow when doing a crunch. For a more effective and comfortable crunch, here are some key points to keep in mind:
Starting Position: Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor and slightly away from your hips. Preferably, place your hands on your chest or on your temples.
To do a crunch correctly, contract your abs to bring your chest towards your knees, then return to the starting position.
“Keep your shoulder and back muscles relaxed”: During this exercise, a common mistake is to lift the chest using a jerky movement in the shoulders and back of the neck. Keep in mind that contracting your abs is what lifts your chest, not the other way around. This approach is more gradual and much less traumatic.
“Keep your lower back on the floor”: To better target your abs, don’t lift your chest too much and keep your lower back on the floor.
“Your hands should only follow the movement”: If you experience pain in the back of your neck, feel free to place your hands behind your head to support it and more easily relieve muscle pain. But be careful, because your hands shouldn’t interfere with the movement. They’re only there to follow it. Don’t pull on your neck with your hands in an effort to force the movement if you’re tired.
“Make sure to breathe normally”: For a more effective exercise, make sure keep breathing normally. Exhale as you come up and inhale as you go down.
Doing this exercise regularly will strengthen your abs, targeting the upper part in particular.
Rectus abdominis: The crunch targets the upper part of this muscle in particular, which is the most superficial abdominal muscle. It sculpts your abs and brings out what is commonly referred to as a “six-pack”.
Transverse abdominis: By making sure to keep your stomach pulled in during the exercise, you also work the transverse abdominis. This is the deepest abdominal muscle. Using its horizontal fibers, it plays an important role in keeping your abdomen in top shape. Core-strengthening exercises are perfect if you want to focus on the transverse abdominis and get the most of its tensor effect, which is vital for getting a flat stomach.
If the crunch is the most well-known abdominal exercise, then there’s definitely a wide range of crunch variations. Great for full-body strength training, they enrich your FizzUp workouts by keeping them interesting and your motivation strong.
Reverse crunches: If the traditional crunch targets the upper part of your abs, the reverse crunch mainly targets the lower part, making these two exercises perfect complements. Start by lying on your back with your hands at your sides and your palms on the floor. Lift your legs to form a right angle. The goal is to lift your hips and bring your knees towards your chest by contracting your abs. Next, gently bring your legs back to the starting position. Continue the repetitions to complete the set.
Double crunches: With this variation, you target both the lower and upper part of your abs. The starting position is the same as the one for the reverse crunch. Lift your chest and your hips at the same time so that your chest comes close to your knees. To complete a repetition, gently and gradually return to the starting position. Double crunches require good coordination. They can seem complicated at the beginning, but with practice, they’ll quickly become one of your favorite abs exercises.
With summer coming up, get a wide variety of exercises and expert fitness and nutrition tips by working out with FizzUp. Not sure about how to do an exercise correctly? The trainer is just a click away!