Crunches… People either love them or hate them. Almost any fitness class or personal training session you walk into now that focuses on abdominal strength will go to some pretty intense twister-esk positions to target your abs and avoid the unpopular crunch. Its 2019! Lets learn how to properly execute the FUNdemental crunch.
Here is why most people avoid crunches:
1) When done incorrectly, and most do it incorrectly, it can damage your spine.
2) Reinforcing bad posture (i.e. Text Neck!)
3) The hip flexors and neck try to do most of the work and the abs are left behind.
If you want to improve your crunching technique, take your time! Explore and feel what is happening in your body as you crunch before you start adding all the pyrotechnics like twists and legs up. As long as you are focused on what is occurring in your body, you will not be bored. A little focus can go a very long way towards your goals. Can you send more of the tension into the four layers of your abdominal muscles? Focus on closing or knitting your ribs together while meeting your low ribs and top of your pelvis in the front as you lift off the ground.
Here are a few more tips to help add the simple (not easy) and effective crunches back into your life:
1) Let your head and neck rest in your hands, as your elbows reach wide.
2) Exhale on the up as you lengthen your spine (both out the top of your head and out of your tailbone) and hollow out your body.
-pressing your low back ribs into the ground and belly button into a towel under your low back to maintain its natural curve.
3) Work hard to maintain this abdominal connectivity as you lower back down to the ground, don’t just collapse and let the ribs go. Hold on! Use your muscles and try to add more length and more depth into your hollowed out body for the next crunch. Use each crunch as a building block to improve upon the last.
The final pitfall of crunches is that it only targets half of your abdominal muscles, so please don’t forget to include your obliques, pelvic floor, and back! We are a multidimensional human being and our training has to reflect that. If you can crunch properly, then you can find and use your core in almost any position you find yourself in.
Happy New Year and wishing you all the success and happiness this year!
Kyle James Adam