What exercise is the most popular when it comes to developing those rock-hard abs? When posing this question to a professional, they would most certainly answer with the Crunch. This exercise focuses on the abdominal muscles as well as the obliques, which should help you towards getting those sculpted abs.
The Crunch – Method
The basic position to start out with is lying on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Instead of laying on the floor, you could also use a bench.
Place your hands:
- Behind your neck
- Alongside the neck
- Placed in a crossed-over position on the chest
Begin by slowly curling the shoulders, moving towards the pelvis. The hands must be placed lightly by the neck, don’t push against the neck, as this can cause injury.
Variations of the Crunch
You can do the basic crunch, but you can also challenge yourself more by lying on a bench that is at an angle. Increase the difficulty by placing a weight beneath the chin or holding the weight behind the head. Many find it easier to do the crunch on a gym/exercise ball.
The Reverse Crunch: Lie in the same positions as for a normal crunch, but instead of lifting the shoulders, you lift the hips up.
The Twist Crunch: Same position as normal crunch but lift one shoulder at a time. You should feel this more in the oblique muscles.
The Thai Crunch: This move is more for the professionals or those who participate in martial arts or boxing. Perform the crunch as normal, but when you lift up to full muscle contraction, punches are directed towards the stomach.
The Cable Crunch: You will need to kneel for this movement. Grab onto a cable from above, which is weighted and pull down. The core should be activated, and hips kept still.
Weight Loss and Strength Exercises
The strength exercises which involve things like sit-ups and crunches do not cause fat reduction for that specific area. Gaining defined abs requires targeting and building those muscles. Fat loss over the same area, however, can only be accomplished by losing weight and fat over the whole body.
The Crunch vs The Sit-up
When observing the two exercises, you should notice some differences. When performing the crunch correctly, the lower back should remain in contact with the floor. This is unlike the sit-up, which brings the entire back off the floor. By keeping the lower back on the floor, the hip flexors are not involved at all. This then makes the crunch more effective because it isolates the area you wish to work on.
There is also the Curl-up version, which is said to be a safer movement and is different from the sit-up. This form is much safer and is less likely to injure the back area, which is great for those with existing back injuries.
Do Crunch Exercises work?
There are professionals who don’t think adding crunches to their training routines would make any difference. On the other hand, there are also those who believe that if you do 6 to 8 crunches per set, it is enough to get results. You will have to try and see for yourself. For those who want to work on their abdominals, the crunch is excellent as it provides intense muscle isolation. This is what you need if you are looking for those six-pack abs.