The crunch is one of the first exercises that come to mind when thinking about abdominal strength and toning.
In addition to being one of the most common ab exercises, it is also incredibly easy to be done and can be done even with no equipment. Its many variations allow it to be modified to fit each particular person doing it and their fitness needs.
As previously mentioned, the traditional crunch is relatively simple to do. Start by lying on your back with your fit about hip-length apart. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor. Your hands should be interlocked and placed behind your head, with each of your thumbs by your ears. Your elbows should be facing out. Then, tilt your chin slightly up. This is your starting position.
Now, pull your abdominals inward and through that motion lift your head, neck, and shoulder blades. Curl forward a bit, and at the peak of the movement hold. Then, lower back down. This is one crunch. Some particular things to keep in mind: avoid pulling on your neck as it may cause injury. Make sure that you feel the tension in your abs and don’t arch your lower back. It is better to do this exercise in a slow and controlled fashion, rather than quickly. This will also help you maintain proper form.
To warm up for crunches, the best thing you can do is make sure your abs, neck, and back are all warm. For your neck, try standing while putting your chin to your chest. Your neck should be hanging naturally and downward. Then, shift it slowly to either side, rolling it along the way. For shoulders, try a slow shoulder roll. This will get those muscles activated and ready to go. For your back, there are a wide range of poses you can try. The child’s pose is a good go-to, as it will really open up your entire back. Cat-camel is also an excellent back stretch that stretches your entire spine, including your neck.
The Many Modifications of the Crunch
Although no one knows who exactly invented the crunch, many people have commented on its form and worked to create modifications. For instance, Stuart McGill, a professor of biomechanics, wrote an article in the New York Times speaking about the benefits of the crunch as well as the proper mechanics. The crunch can be done in a wide array of workouts, ranging from athletic workouts to bodybuilding to simply getting back in shape.
There are many benefits to the traditional crunch, which is why it has become such a popular exercise. It is incredibly useful for tightening the belly and also working toward six-pack abs. Although it isn’t a huge fat burner, it is able to isolate the abdominals in a way that results in building muscle quickly.
There are variations meant to make the process more dynamic or even more effective for building muscle. For instance, many people put plates with weight behind their head during the exercise to increase the amount of weight they lift. You can also do a bicycle crunch, which incorporates moving your elbow on one side to the knee on the opposite side, in a pedaling motion. These are just a few of the many variations meant to sculpt your abs further and tighten your stomach.
Crunches are one of the most popular exercises around, and for a good reason. They are incredibly versatile and allow for modification and variation based on individual training routines. Adding a crunch or crunch variation to your workout routine is necessary for building up your abs and sculpting the body you want.