Get Toned, Sculpted, Six Pack Abs With the Perfect Crunch - Follow These 6 Easy Tips
By Tanya Stroh
The crunch is arguably one of the most popular exercises you can do to strengthen, tone and sculpt your abdominal muscles. The crunch is also an exercise that if performed incorrectly can cause serious injury. With that in mind, remember, whatever kind of crunch you are doing; whether it is on a stability ball, on a Bosu, oblique crunches, crunches with your legs extended toward the ceiling or simply a standard crunch, it is absolutely important that you use the proper form. This way you will work the abdominal muscles properly and to their best advantage while protecting your back muscles from what could be a serious injury. The following steps will assure good exercise technique and form when doing a standard crunch.
- Lie face up on a mat with your knees bent, feet wider than hips distance apart, heels on the floor, toes pointed to the ceiling & fingertips on the back of the head with elbows back and pointed to the side
- Contract your abdominal muscles, flatten your low back, keep your neck and chin in a neutral position
- Exhale & slowly lift your shoulders up as high as you can shortening the torso then slowly lower back down keeping your shoulders off the mat
Here are some tips I use with my clients that help them get the most out of their crunches. To begin with your abs are just like any other muscles, train them on non-consecutive days not every day. When you are doing a standard crunch you are primarily working your rectus abdominis, the muscle that goes from your sternum (breast bone), all the way to your pubic bone. This is where you want to feel the exercise.
When crunching it is important to keep your back flat on the floor, a great way to help keep your back flat is to point your toes toward the ceiling while keeping your heels on the floor.
If you are new to exercising it is important you finish each crunch by lowering your upper body all the way down to the floor, relax, readjust and then begin your next crunch. If on the other hand if you are an experienced exerciser, lower your upper body down until your shoulders are close but not touching the floor and then begin your next crunch. Before you do a crunch, remember to contract your abs. Think of trying to suck your belly button into your spine, this engages the deepest abdominal muscle called the transverse abdominis. During each crunch on the concentric or the up phase of the exercise keep your abs contracted and exhale. Think about shortening your torso while keeping your neck in a neutral position.
You want to avoid pulling on your neck. One way to help you in this is to visualize holding an apple or tennis ball under your chin or hold a light weight medicine ball on your chest and rest your chin on it.
Another good way to keep your neck relaxed, believe it or not, is to push your tongue up on the roof of your mouth. Remember you always want to maintain a balance when you are working out so don't focus so much on your abdominals that you overlook your other muscles.
Remember, your core includes your entire torso and your back muscles. The best results will come from a well rounded exercise routine.
For more information and guidance about health and fitness issues, visit http://www.tanyastroh.com Tanya specializes in helping people achieve optimal health with a highly individualized approach to fitness exercise. Tanya Stroh is a nationally certified personal trainer and founder and creator of Tanya Stroh Training solutions, your online Personal Trainer. With over 500 unique exercises, and counting, our proprietary software, TS Trax, creates a fitness exercise plan specifically for your goals, your level of fitness, at home or at the gym with the equipment you have and like to use. With Tanya Stroh training Solutions you can stop guessing about how to achieve your fitness goals and enjoy faster results with no plateau. Be fit, be healthy, and be happy with http://www.tanyastroh.com.