Proper form for a crunch brings results and protects your spine.
Abdominal exercises are like the front page of a newspaper -- everybody talks about them and each day is a different story. The abdominal crunch is a tried and true core-strengthening exercise. You can depend on the crunch to improve the look and feel of your midsection. But here's where the story takes a turn and you discover many different ways to perform the crunch. The best way is the one that protects your back, contracts the abs completely and brings results.1.
Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent. Place your feet flat on the floor at hip-distance apart and approximately 1 foot from your bottom.2.
Tilt your hips slightly upward to flatten your lower back against the floor. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head. Keep your fingers unlocked and position your thumbs underneath your ears.3.
Look toward the ceiling, as if you have an orange between your chin and your chest. Maintain your neck and elbow positions throughout the crunch. (Ref. 1)4.
Tighten your abs by pulling your navel toward your spine. Exhale, and raise your torso until your shoulder blades leave the floor. Bring your ribs toward your hips to contract the rectus abdominis.5.
Maintain the contracted position briefly. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position.6.
Perform eight to 20 repetitions, or continue until your abdominals reach fatigue. Do two to four sets with one to two minutes of rest in between sets.7.
Do the ab crunches on a daily basis if possible, or at least two to three days a week for best results.
- Use an exercise mat under your back for additional comfort. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio activity to warm up your muscles before you do any crunches.
- If you experience any back pain, stop the exercise immediately. Speak to a physician before starting any new fitness program.