Muscles Targeted: The fingers to toe crunch specifically targets the middle and upper rectus abdominis, commonly known as the “abs”, the external oblique, the outermost muscle of the abdomen and the internal oblique, the intermediate muscle of the abdomen. Rectus abdominis is a muscle that runs vertically along the anterior wall of the abdomen. Apart from targeting these major abdominal muscles, this exercise also involves the hip flexors, a group of muscles that helps to pull the legs upward.
Exercise Instructions: Position a mat on the floor and lie on your back. Place your arms straight back outstretched above your head and your legs stretched out straight as well.. Execute the movement by touching your hands to your toes. This is done by raising your legs and arms to meet in a jackknife position, while keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible. Lower arms and legs back down to the starting position in a slow and controlled fashion and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: Most people aspire to have toned abs and a lean stomach. While this exercise helps in achieving the coveted six-pack abs, it also helps in strengthening the other muscles of the body. Most people who have weak or overly tight muscles often suffer from muscle spasms and back aches. This exercise, in conjunction with other exercises, helps in strengthening the abdomen, the lower back and the hips. The fingers to toe abdominal crunch targets the core muscles and helps in reducing the severity of back aches. It also reduces the risk of a back injury and it prevents many exercise-related injuries. Since this exercise strengthens the back and the abs, it helps in improving the posture and balance of the body.
Things To Avoid: Abdominal exercises often put unwanted stress on the spine and the back so certain safety measures must be taken to avoid any injuries. Sprains are the most common injury related to exercise which is why it’s very important to always make sure to warm up before starting the exercise. To keep your back safe, raise your shoulders only 4-6 inches off the ground. People often overextend and injure their back while doing crunches. So do not extend your back beyond its limit. Don’t use other body parts or your body’s momentum to aid in completing the exercise. Jerky movements can be harmful for your back, so slow down and avoid any quick, fast and jerky movements. Drink plenty of water regularly to stay hydrated and to prevent any injuries. Like any other muscle, the abdominal muscles can be overworked as well. It is necessary to listen to your body and to take ample rest when required. People who are new to this exercise should not over-exercise and should slowly strengthen their muscles by working out regularly. There should be a gap of at least 24-48 hours between each abdominal workout session.
Reps and Sets: In order to maximize the benefits of this exercise, perform 3-4 sets with 10-30 reps, 3 times a week.
Other Exercises To Use: The best way to get strong abs is to simultaneously target all the muscles. A combination of different floor exercises should be included in your workout regimen. Other exercises that strengthen the middle and upper abs are Abdominal Sit Ups, Abdominal Toe Touchers and Raised Knee Barbell Crunches. These are not the only exercises for the upper and middle abs but have been found to be effective in strengthening the abs. People who suffer from back problems should use the Abdominal Crunch Machine. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of all the exercises that target the abs.