Better definition in those abs are just some tucks and crunches away.
There are lots of exercises out there that will provide definition and tone to the abdominal muscles, but the tuck and crunch is one of the best. It was developed as part of the body building community as a variation on the traditional crunch.
What’s great about this exercise is that it doesn’t require any equipment other than a clear space on the floor.
Chew on this Form
One of the things that makes any exercise more effective is proper form. Without it, you’re going to find yourself not only struggling with your results, but potentially hurting yourself as well. To get the form right with the Tuck and Crunch, follow these simple steps.
- Lie down on an exercise mat on the floor or on the floor itself.
- Press your back into the floor, arms at your sides with your palms facing the floor.
- Cross one ankle over the other with legs extended.
- Tighten your core and pull your shoulders down from your ears.
- With control, life your legs off the floor until your thighs are perpendicular to the mat. Keep your knees slightly bent. Toes and knees should be parallel to the floor, not your thighs. Think of your calves as forming a tabletop.
- Lift your arms off of the floor, then cross them over your chest. You’re now in the starting position.
- Push your lower back into the floor and re-engage your abs.
- With control, lift your torso off the floor, exhaling while you do so.
- Keeping that control and while you inhale, lower your upper body back down to the floor.
- Repeat eight to ten times.
A major part of getting the form right on this exercise comes in maintaining abdominal engagement throughout the process. As your torso and legs move, you’ll feel a pull on different parts of your abdominal muscles. If you need to pause to take a deep breath between reps, that’s ok. This is the moment when you can loosen those abs.
The Tuck and Crunch is great in part because there are some solid variations that will either push you towards more rigor or that will allow you to pull back to your level.
To increase the difficulty, place a weighted plate on your chest, holding it with your arms. This will force you to work harder with your abs, but be careful not to hold tension in your shoulders with this addition.
Be sure to master this exercise without weights before you attempt to add weights. Form is even more important for safety when you bring in weights!
To make the exercise slightly less rigorous, keep your hands by your sides, lifted slightly off the floor. You can also try putting your hands behind your head in order to add some variety to the move.
Changes in foot and leg position offer variety as well. Try pointing your toes versus flexing your feet. Legs straight out and parallel to the floor is another possible variation.
Don’t forget to try this exercise with a Bosu ball or even an exercise ball.
Tuck into these Benefits
The Tuck and Crunch is remarkable for its ability to work the entire core and the lower back. It’s a great, low impact exercise that doesn’t put too much stress on the lower back. That makes it a perfect exercise for beginners.
The Tuck and Crunch is a tried and true variation on the traditional crunch exercise. For beginners who want to mix up their workout or for experienced fitness fanatics who need to hone their entire core, this exercise is just right.