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Crunches

The Crunches are the first exercise that comes to mind when we talk about “abs.” The starting position is to lie on your back with your legs bent. You can have your feet on the ground or in the air. But I recommend the feet on the ground for more stability and a better contraction of the right. As for the hands, they can be placed along the body, on the chest, or next to the temples. Be careful not to place them behind the head because you risk shooting it during the exercise, and therefore put pressure on your neck. Once in the initial position, you must wrap your bust by contracting the abdominal muscles. The contraction of the right will trigger a rapprochement of the plexus and pubis. When performing the movement, your feet, buttocks, and lower back remain on the ground. Only the shoulders and upper back are slightly off the ground. The detachment must be only a few centimeters. It is an abdominal contraction and not a winding of the spine.

The return to the initial position should be done slowly with a constant contraction of the abdominal muscles.

Afterward, it is possible to slightly increase the difficulty, placing your hands far behind the head, arms outstretched. Another possibility is to perform the legs stretched movement close to the floor, or in the air and to try to touch your feet with your hands.

You can also go lightly by adding weight to your chest.

The use of material can be interesting to increase the extension of the Rectus muscle. You can, for example, make the Crunch on a Swiss ball or on a Bosu half ball. For this, you lie on the support in question and during the descent, you can go lower, allowing a greater extension of the muscle of the right. Perform this exercise gently so, you do not damage your spine. 

To increase the difficulty, you can also perform the “Crunch” on an incline bench. You must have your legs on the highest side of the bench and the torso on the lowest side. From this position, you can perform a classic Crunches movement. The main difference and difficulty are that you must stop your descent so that your bust is parallel to the ground. The back should not touch the bench at the end of the descent.

On all these exercises, it is possible to make a slight rotation of the bust at the end of soliciting more oblique muscles.

Targeted Muscles

The Crunches especially solicits the right abdominal, the famous “chocolate bar”, and secondarily the oblique muscles located on the side of the waist. The big right allows the flexion of the trunk; it brings the pubis closer to the sternum by a vertebral coil when the pelvis is fixed.

It also allows a retro version of the pelvis when the trunk is fixed. The crunch has the reputation of more solicit the upper abdominal (above the navel) compared to the surveys of pelvis or legs, which would rather work the lower part.

Execution Of The Exercise

Starting position lying on the ground or on a bench. Hands can be placed on the head at the temples, on the chest, or along the body (easier). Avoid positioning them behind the neck.

The feet can be placed on the ground, near the buttocks, or rest on a bench. You can also place your thighs vertically, knees bent and spread, feet crossed, so as not to arch the lower back during movement. Be careful, the more the legs are raised or even strained, the more the difficulty increases.

Wrap the bust forward by contracting the abdominal. The shoulders only take off a few inches from the ground, and the lower back, and hips remain fixed.

Returning to the starting position should be done smoothly, keeping the contraction and tension in the muscle. The speed of execution is slow and constant. Ballast can be placed on the chest like a cast iron washer or dumbbell, so that exercise is difficult. You can also reach back to increase the resistance.

Breathing

Inspiration at the beginning of the movement when the rib cage is open. Blow while performing the movement and contract your abdominal wall. Respiratory blocking should be avoided.

Variants

Oblique Crunches

This movement is almost identical to the traditional crunch exercise, with the only difference that each contraction will be performed with a slight rotation of the bust to solicit further abdominal oblique muscles located on the sidewalls of the abdomen. Well toned, the oblique muscles can refine the size.

Crunches on a Swiss ball

The crunch movement is made here on a big gym ball, called a Swiss ball. The abdominal being stretched further in the starting position, the crunch exercise on Swiss ball allows to work on a greater amplitude and thus to increase the difficulty of the exercise.

Weighted crunches

weighted crunch movement is identical to the traditional crunch, the added difficulty is to place a dumbbell on his chest when performing the exercise. Weighted crunches are recommended for confirmed athletes who want to gain strength or strength.

Tips For Crunches

Stop breathing. They are still too numerous to block their breathing incomprehensibly during the climb, thus suddenly increasing the intra-abdominal pressure and pushing the viscera towards the perineum. This bad habit can increase the risk of urinary leakage in women.

You can blow during the climb, but the best method is actually to inhale during the climb and blow during the return to the starting position. This method requires a little practice before being mastered.

Climb too high. Wanting to climb as high as possible is another common mistake of the crunch. The abdominal work is done by the lowering of the ribs and not by the winding of the head or shoulder: it is therefore strictly useless to go up very high. This tendency often results in a draw on the neck that is counterproductive and harmful to cervical vertebrae and intervertebral discs of the neck.

Intensify the last movements. To complete their sequence, some make small quick movements in order to intensify the exercise. In reality, this is counterproductive as the fibers of the abdominal muscles become shorter and more likely to rupture. Prefer slow movements smoothly.

Stretched legs. Thinking of working at the same time their flexibility, some make the mistake of doing crunches legs outstretched. Such a choice increases the load on lumbar discs by 210%, increases shear forces (the most harmful) by 97% and compression forces by 18%. In addition, it solicits the iliopsoas muscles of the leg more than abdominal muscles.

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