Crunch Exercise: How to do crunches properly to strengthen your abs?

Whenever you think about having a healthy body your ultimate goal is usually focused on strength your abs. To do this the Crunch Exercise should become your best friend. But are you doing right this basic move? Although crunches are a simple movement, if you do not do them properly you may not see results and end up injured.

For that reason, here we are going to teach you how to learn to perform effective crunches so you can strengthen your core and achieve your goals.

The first thing is to know what crunch exercise is all about. Crunches are a simple muscle contraction movement that focuses on the core of your body. But your core, it’s not just your abs. It also includes your obliques, lower back and even your hips, so you should be aware that crunches will only work the abdominal area and not the other core muscles.

What are the Crunch Exercise benefits?

Crunches are a basic bodyweight exercise that can be done by anyone from beginners to professional athletes. The wonder is that they can be performed anywhere without the need for a gym or additional equipment. That’s why it is essential in any fitness routine.

In addition to their practicality, crunches are a very effective abdominal exercise. Mainly because they will help you develop the popular abs muscles to achieve an enviable six pack. But also because they help you improve your mind-muscle connection and that transfers to enhance in other sports.

How to do crunches properly?

There are many variations of different crunches, but today we are going to focus on the original crunches. Follow these steps to perform them correctly:

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1. Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet planted, hip-width apart.

2. Place your elbows behind your head with your fingers just touching your ears or, alternatively, position your hands crossed over your chest.

3. Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.

4. While performing this movement, keep your gaze neutral and bring your chin to chest level.

5. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.

Mistakes to avoid in Crunch Exercise

Common mistakes people make when doing crunches can ruin their results and cause an injury that will only hinder your performance. Is my posture correct? Why do I repeat the move but I do not get the results and I am sore?

If you have been trying for a few days to get tone your abs and you have not seen positive changes, you should make sure you are doing correctly the exercise so you do not run the risk of back or neck injury.

1. Doing it too fast

Some people believe that the faster and more consistent they do their crunches, the sooner they will see their expected results, but this is the complete opposite. The slower and more controlled you perform the crunches, the better abdominal activation you will get. Only the flexion should last a couple of seconds, and another two for the eccentric phase, when you go back to the beginning.

2. Climbing too high

Don’t forget that crunches are not Situps. You do not need to lift your entire upper body to do crunches. This is a small movement, in fact, the less you move the harder it will be to build up momentum and that will help keep you from overexerting yourself.

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3. Obsessing over the position of your arms

It is as simple as this: the positioning of your arms does not affect your abs at all. Remember, crunches are an isolation exercise. Your arms can be behind your head, on your chest or bent down and it won’t change anything. Choose the most comfortable position for you and focus on your core abs.

4. Straining your neck

Chances are you’ve ever ended up with a sore neck while doing crunches. This is because you did not do them properly. To avoid neck pain, try to keep a neutral gaze forward and tuck your chin toward your chest. This posture reduces the activation of the hyoid muscles, the stabilizers that go from the chin to the collarbone. That’s it.

How to tone your abs faster?

At the beginning we mentioned that there are several alternatives of crunch exercise and those can lead you to enhance the entire core area of your body, however, do not lose sight that the main thing is to correctly and safely perform the crunches to achieve that six pack abs.

An extra and very simple solution to complement the original basic exercise, would be to look for the safer version of the crunch. To begin, perform step 1 but this time place your hands under your lower back and extend one leg. Contract your abs and inhale. Using your core, lift your head slightly while keeping your neck straight. Pause and return to the starting position.

A final tip for doing the crunches perfectly is to consult a personal trainer. They can provide you with additional tips, modifications and explain alternatives to keep you safe and get better results with your workout.

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