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Crunches - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Abdominals

Although crunches mainly target the upper abs, it is also a great exercise for burning your obliques. Depending on your fitness level you will definitely feel the burn in the first few reps of this great ab exercise. The intensity can be increased by raising the position of your feet.

Crunches - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Position yourself with your back making contact with the floor with your feet also flat on the floor.
  • For your hand placement, touch the sides of your ears, or keep them in front of you.
  • Fix your eyes on a position straight ahead and slightly forward as you are lying on the floor.
  • Exhale and curl towards your knees, your lower back rounding out, but not lifting off the floor. Ensure that your line of vision is maintained at the point discussed above.
  • The movement involved in this exercise does not have to be significant. Ensure that you are feeling the crunch.
  • Pause before inhaling and bringing your shoulders back to the starting position.
  • Continue this movement for the specified number of reps. Rest then repeat.

Crunches - Tips & Safety

  • Keep this movement in control at all times and avoid quick reps. Avoid lifting your entire back off the floor, rather roll forward and crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis. Remember, Crunches are not Sit-Ups, where the movement occurs at the hips.
  • Give your abs an extra squeeze at the top of the crunch.
  • Do not lock your fingers behind your head as you may be tempted to put pressure on your neck towards the end of the exercise which can put stress on it.

Crunches - Alternatives

  • Raise your feet to make this exercise more difficult. You can achieve this by lying flat on the floor and placing the soles of your feet against a wall, adjusting the height to vary the resistance level.
  • You may also consider placing your feet up on a bench or a swiss ball.
  • The strain on your abs increases as your hands shift position from your sides to the inside of your body (head or chest).
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