Decline Abdominal Crunches - Abs Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: Decline abdominal crunches
target the rectus abdominis, or abdominal muscles. In addition,
you will work your hip flexors as a secondary muscle.
Exercise Instructions: Using a decline
bench, position yourself with your feet locked in at the top.
Place your hands on either side of your head, without locking
your fingers. Raise your body slowly while you contract your
abs. Crunch up, bringing your elbows to either side of your
thighs. At the top of the movement, flex your abs for a one-count
and then slowly lower your body back down to the starting
position. Be sure to keep at least an inch or two of space
between your back and the bench at the bottom of the movement.
For more intensity, hold a weight plate across your chest
for added resistance.
Why This Exercise is Important: The decline
abdominal crunch is a great way to build strength and definition
in the abs. If you are looking to improve your core muscles and
get closer to a six pack, this is the perfect exercise to use. When
you compare the decline abdominal crunches to other ab exercises,
you will notice how much more intense the process is. This is primarily
due to the fact that you must rely on your abs to push your body
up off the declined bench. In a regular sit up position, or while
doing bicycle crunches, it is easier to use your body's momentum
to get the job done. With the decline abdominal crunches, you get
a true idea of how strong your abdominal muscles really are.
Exercise Tips: Make sure to squeeze your AB muscles as much
as you can when you are at the top of this exercise, because it
it will result in the maximum contraction. If you feel as though
the exercise is getting too easy, you might want to add extra weights.
Hold a 5-10 pound weight plate across your chest, and complete the
same reps you normally would. Increasing the amount of weight you
hold every few weeks will maintain the level of difficulty and ensure
your abs are strengthened.
Things To Avoid: Too many individuals use their body's momentum
to perform the decline abdominal crunches, but that should be avoided
as much as possible. Instead, you should raise and lower your upper
body under the control of your abdominal muscles. This will work
your rectus abdominis to the maximum, and ensure you get the most
benefit out of the exercise. Perform the decline abdominal crunches
on a decline bench, and adjust the bench's decline until you are
getting the maximum tension in your AB muscles while completing
the movement. Be sure to control your breathing when you are performing
the exercise. When you raise your body off the declined bench, breathe
out and exhale. As you are lowering your body back into the decline
position, inhale and breathe in. Instead of focusing on the intensity
of the exercise or the stress in your abs, focus on each breath
you take. Concentrating on your breathing will also allow you to
perform more repetitions without stopping.
Reps and Sets: Try to perform 3 sets of 20 or 25 repetitions
of the decline abdominal crunches. If you feel as though you are
not struggling to complete the last few reps, add five more reps
to your set, or add a weight plate for additional resistance.
Other Exercises To Use: If you do not feel comfortable with
the decline abdominal crunches, or you want to try a different exercise
for variety then you can use different movements. The reverse abdominal
crunches, abdominal flutter kicks and medicine ball leg raises are
all great exercises to use in your AB workouts. Each of these exercises
will work your abs in a similar manner, so long as they are performed
correctly. View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the abs.