Abdominal Crunches - Abs Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: When a person performs abdominal crunches
they are working the rectus abdominis muscles located at the front
of the torso. This exercise will tone these muscles which comprise
the popular “six pack abs” that so many people aspire
to attain. When a person consistently performs this exercise they
will also improve the strength of their core. Your abdominal muscles
are found at the front of your stomach. They start at the pubic
bone and run up along the rib cage. A person who performs crunches
will also target the xiphoid process of the sternum, the area found
at the bottom of the breast bone. Your rectus abdominis muscles
are the muscles that allow your upper body to coil into the manner
of a crunch.
Exercise Instructions: Lie flat on your
back on a mat with your feet flat on the ground. Place your
hands lightly on either side of your head while keeping your
elbows out. Push the small of your back down to the floor
to isolate your ab muscles. Begin to roll your shoulders off
the floor. Continue to push down with your lower back. Your
shoulders should come up off the floor only about 3-4 inches
and your lower back should always remain flat on the floor.
As always, make sure you let your abs do all the work in a
slow and controlled fashion.
Why This Exercise is Important: It helps to increase strength
in the abdominal stabilizer muscles. Any person who wants to make
their abdominal muscles stronger needs to perform some resistance
exercises that target the abdominals. Your abdominal muscles act
as stabilizer to your body and help to maintain excellent body posture.
The best way to strengthen this part of your body is through specific
abdominal exercises. Your abdominal muscles are the muscles you
need to flex your spinal cord.
Things To Avoid: When you perform an abdominal crunch you
should avoid any jerky or bouncy movements. To get the full benefit
of this exercise you need to perform the exercise slowly and avoid
pulling on your neck or head when moving upward. You should also
avoid raising the lower part of your back from the mat when doing
this exercise. Another common mistake that is associated with this
exercise is people will often attempt to perform too many sets with
poor technique and form. The way to achieve the best results through
the use of abdominal crunches is to slowly perform this exercise
and really concentrate on each repetition. Far too often an individual
will attempt to speed through their abdominal workout and instead
of giving their abdominals a true workout they are actually stressing
their back and tensing their neck as they raise their lower back
off the mat and pull on their neck with their hands. When this exercise
is performed properly, an individual will find that their abdominal
muscles will feel tired after twenty to thirty repetitions.
Reps and Sets: 3-5 total sets of 10 to 30 repetitions are
perfect for the abdominal crunch exercise. A person should only
perform abdominal crunches two to four times per week for the best
results. When individuals perform this exercise in excess of these
numbers what usually occurs is the person stops focusing on their
form and they start “cheating” to complete their set.
The proper performance of this exercise requires one to concentrate
on only using their abdominals to move upward and downward. Three
sets of twenty repetitions, three times a week is more than sufficient
for most people.
Other Exercises To Use: The abdominal crunch machine is
another great exercise to use since it allows people with neck and
lower back problems to train their abdominal muscles without putting
any additional pressure on their problem areas. The use of this
machine can be an excellent complement to a person’s abdominal
workout as the weights used can help strengthen their abdominal
core. View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of all the exercises
that target the abs.