When it comes to working out, it is almost always “crunch time”. Even we have different reasons of exercising and being too intense with workout routines, there is something that we all have in common – to succeed and achieve our fitness goals. So it is understandable to be caught up with the social stigma of following whatever is “in” at today’s fitness world. You probably heard countless tips and new exercises worth trying as they seem to promise great results.
Among the various exercises, what is your most favorite? Or do you simply go with the crowd and follow the routines they’re working on? There is nothing wrong with joining the latest workout or trying out the new techniques of exercising. However, let’s not forget the other kinds of exercise we use to believe into – particularly the basics which are commonly shunned off. Don’t be too focused on doing high-intensity routines because the efficiency of the basic routines is actually beneficial and can provide a considerably good push in attaining your goals.
What Makes Crunches Different?
Among the basic routines, Crunch is quite an effective abdominal exercise regardless of the recent bad perception and popularity of being non-functional abs exercise. As such, it is often rivaled with sit-ups and push-up in terms of strengthening your core and building or toning up your abs. However, there are research and fitness studies which generally back up its’ effectiveness through the muscle activation level it can provide.
Generally, it targets your rectus abdominis muscles (commonly called as six-pack abs) along with working out your external obliques. As a practiced abdominal exercise, it is necessary to have a clear understanding on how to start and the proper way of performing it just as how you’ve been interesting in knowing how to do planks. For some people who are skeptical about crunch routines and rather choose push-up, sit-ups and planks, there are actually things that make this exercise standout. The answer is its’ level of difficulty. Yes, you can do the basic crunch but this exercise offers a wide variety of variations that truly challenges you to level things up thus providing you a higher chance to get the body you want – faster and more efficient! However, it is imperative to know how to do the crunch the right way because it is incredibly dangerous wherein an incorrect movement may cause injury to your head, neck or hands.
The Best Variations of Crunch Routines
Are you excited in knowing the different variations you can try at home? There are so many crunch routines which can help you effectively lower your body fat percentage. After following one or two of these routines and conversely being truly dedicated with your nutritional diet, you can soon say goodbye to your belly fat – then say hello to strong, chiseled six-packed abs!
Before you master the leveled-up crunch routines, you have to work out first with the basic crunch. Simply start by lying on your back with your face up. Bend your knees while ensuring that your feet are hip-width apart and flat against the floor. Lightly place your hands behind your head or your neck. Make sure that you don’t lace your fingers across together but position your thumbs behind your ears. Hold your elbows out, slightly tilt your chin and then gently tighten your abdominals inward. Curl up your shoulders so your head and neck are lifted off the floor. Hold the form for at least a count or two and then slowly lower back to the initial position. Repeat the process for 12 to 15 crunch count.
Start the same way you did with Basic Crunch. Once you’ve securely pressed your back to the floor, engage your abs muscles by pulling or contracting your navel. Put your hands behind your head or neck and then bring your knees towards your chest. While doing this, your shoulders must be lifted off the floor but be careful not to strain or injure your neck. Slowly straighten your left leg out in a 45-degree angle and simultaneously turn your upper body in the opposite direction which is the right side. As you twist, bring your left elbow towards your right knee. In this crunch routine, it is important to make sure that it isn’t just your elbows but your rib cage is also moving, creating bicycle pedal motion.
With this crunch routine, you’ll be targeting your oblique muscles and lower abs along with your rectus abdominis. Begin by lying on your side (either left or right). Let’s says you’ll be on your right side wherein you have to place your left hand behind your head while balancing the weight of your body on your right hand against the floor. Gently raise your legs off the floor but make sure that it is in a straight form. Press down into your right hand as you bring your torso towards the direction of your raised legs – creating a V shape with your body and legs. Then lower yourself back to the initial position which counts as one rep. Perform the same process for a few more reps as many as you feel like it.
This variation of crunch routine strengthens not just your abs, but also your lower abs and obliques. Begin by lying flat on you back and then slowly contract your abs region while lifting your legs in the air. Bend your knees and place your weight on your hands beside you. Without creating a momentum, use the strength of your lower abs to slowly curl your hips off the floor and direct it towards your chest. Hold the position for a count or two and lower yourself back to the initial position which is equivalent to one rep. You can repeat the routine for about 12 up to 15 repetitions.
The same as the other crunch routines, start by lying face-up with your knees bent. Slowly curl your shoulders towards the direction of your pelvis. Then as you crunch your torso, raise one leg while bringing your arms together to clap underneath that raised leg. Repeat the same to your other leg and then return to the starting position which count as one rep. Perform the crunch routine alternately for about 10 to 12 reps.
As the name suggest, you’ll be working your core into a crunch into a frog-like form. It primarily targets your abs regions, core, hip flexors and basically your stomach pouch. Simply begin the routine by sitting in a V-like position. Your arms are extended by your side while your upper torso creates a 45-degree angle. Make sure that your legs remain off the floor and then slowly pull your knees towards the direction of your chest. Throughout the movement, contract your core as you wrap your arms around your legs. Extend your legs back out and return to the starting position. You can perform this crunch routine for about 12 to 15 reps.
Double Crunch Pulse with Ball
This time, let us use a prop while performing the crunch routine. Start by lying flat on your back with your legs raised straightly towards the ceiling. With your arms outstretched, hold the medicine ball over your chest. Slowly lift your head, neck and upper back off the floor or yoga mat. While doing this movement, make sure that you engage your abs or contract your core. Afterward, round your low back to raise your pelvis while exhaling. As you do this, you’ll be lifting your upper body and at the same time aiming the medicine ball towards your ankles which generally forms the double crunch. After a few seconds or a minute, lower your pelvis and upper back while inhaling to create a slow pulsing movement. Repeat the process for a few reps, as many as you feel like it.
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