Standard Crunches

Image of how to do crunches

Introduction

Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Abdominals

Equipment: Body Only

Level: Beginner

What are Crunches?

Although the crunch is pretty popular I still get people asking me “what are crunches” and “how do I do crunches” so here you will find out what are crunches and how to do crunches.

The abdominal crunch is among the most common and recommend exercises for toning the core muscles. They are typically performed while lying face-up on the floor with your knees bent while supporting your neck with your hands and can be done by anyone anywhere as they don’t require assistance or additional equipment, abdominal crunches tone and strengthen the rectus abdominus and surrounding core muscles which improve your posture and allowing you to lift and rotate your body more effectively.

If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your abdominal muscles then look no further as crunches are an easy, effective option. They’re a lot like sit-ups, but instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back. This reduces your injury risk, and targets your abs without engaging your hip muscles, so if you want to tone your abs or just love a bit of the extra weight on your belly, this simple exercise is the secret for you. If you have the necessary motivation to dedicate 10-20 minutes to it daily, the results will be amazing as the benefits of crunches are so vital.

It’s really as simple as it sounds

Muscles Worked in Crunches

What muscles are worked in crunches

primary: Abs
secondary: No secondary Muscles worked

Benefits of Crunches

Core Muscles

The term “core muscles” has become somewhat a trend, but the fact is that strong core muscles help you for a number of reasons. They’re beneficial for several sports and activities, including yoga, and strong muscles around your abs and pelvis also help your posture, stability and balance. Having weak core muscles results in other muscles overcompensating, which can lead to stains and injuries.

Convenience

It is easy to shrug off some workouts because they require a gym membership or buying expensive equipment for your home. There are many benefits of crunches, although the most important is that crunches are convenient because you can do them in your own home or even at work if you want a quick, midday exercise. Whether you do a short set in your bedroom when you get up in the morning or add them to your workout regime in your home gym, crunches don’t require anything more than your commitment.

Abdominal Muscles

Most people wouldn’t say no to the chance of having a ripped set of abs, and a regular workout that includes crunches and sit-ups is one way to help reach this goal. Some people erroneously believe, however, that crunches alone will result in a six-pack of abs. The abs are a relatively small group of muscles and won’t stand out unless you combine crunches with healthy eating and cardiovascular exercise to lose fat in your stomach area.

How to do Crunches

Crunches

  1. Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground, or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you are resting your feet on a bench, place them three to four inches apart and point your toes inward so they touch.
  2. Now place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in.
  3. While pushing the small of your back down in the floor to better isolate your abdominal muscles, begin to roll your shoulders off the floor.
  4. Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back as you contract your abdominals and exhale. Your shoulders should come up off the floor only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the floor. At the top of the movement, contract your abdominals hard and keep the contraction for a second.
  5. After the one second contraction, begin to come down slowly again to the starting position as you inhale.

Repeat for desired reps.

Mistakes commonly made in crunches

Crunching Too High

The crunch is a subtle movement. Jerking the shoulders up quickly adds momentum and reduces the effectiveness of the crunch. It takes time to build strength in the abs, so it’s best to take your time and do the move slowly rather than using momentum to get body up as this gets the most effectiveness out of crunches.

Relaxing Down to the Floor

It is easy to let your shoulders fall to the floor although a more effective approach is to keep the tension on the abs throughout the entire exercise. You never want to completely relax the shoulders onto the floor.

Pulling on the Neck

This not only strains the neck, but it also takes away from working your abs. You want the movement in your abs, not your head. So you should keep your neck in proper alignment and not moving.

Safety when performing crunches

If you have any back or neck problems, you should talk to your doctor or physical therapist about if crunches are suitable for you. If not done with proper form, they can compress the spine and stress the neck.

Write below in the comments your opinion on crunches, if they work for you and any questions you might have.

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