Muscles Targeted: A strong abdominal section is vital for maintaining good posture. Although, much attention is paid to the abs, the muscles closer to the spine are far more significant. There are three muscle groups that form the abdomen. The transverse abdominis, internal obliques and external obliques. The transverse abdominis is the closest to the spine and cannot be touched from the outside of the body. The internal obliques form each side of the torso and aid in rotational and lateral flexion of the spine. The external obliques are another pair of muscles that help with the same function as the internal obliques only to a lesser extent.
Exercise Instructions: Lie flat on your back onto the floor or on a padded mat with your hands crossed over your chest. Lift your legs up into the air with a slight bend in your knees and point your feet towards the ceiling. Lift your shoulder blades 3-4 inches off the floor and perform a crunch while keeping your legs up in the air and stable. Pause at the top for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: The abdomen is also referred to as the core, and therein lies the importance of it. The core muscles are essential for balance, overall strength, stability in daily movements and exercises. The core muscles protect the spine and the majority of lower back pains can be attributed to a weak core. Abdominal tuck crunches help in building the muscles necessary to enjoy all the benefits of a sturdy abdomen, without the risk of injury.
Things To Avoid: There are a few pointers to be aware of before performing any abdominal exercises to avoid risking injury. First, it is important that the neck is supported and relaxed. Maintaining eye focus on a particular point, say the tip of your toes while performing the exercise will not only keep the neck relaxed but also keep you focused on the movement. Moreover, focusing your awareness on the abdominal muscles with each contraction and relaxation greatly enhances the results. It is also important that you increase the intensity gradually and leave at least 24 hours of recovery between each session. Also bear in mind that your diet is incredibly important for your overall results in losing body fat and developing six pack abs. Remember, abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym!
Reps and Sets: The reps and sets you perform are almost entirely dependent on your level of fitness and body type. If you are overweight, it is best to start with lower reps with enough to get a burn and then gradually increase the number as your body adapts. It is important that you perform each rep with strict form and proper technique. One of the best ways to keep getting results without hitting plateaus is to always mix up your repetitions and workouts. A good rule of thumb is to use 3-4 sets with 20-30 repetitions on this exercise and train your abs 2-3 times per week for great results.
Other Exercises To Use: Besides abdominal tuck crunches, there are other exercises that are equally beneficial to include in your ab workouts. There are three simple core exercises that strengthen all areas of the midsection and can also help to improve the lower back. These exercises include planks, lateral planks and abdominal crunches. Be sure to perform each exercise with proper form. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of all the exercises that target the abs.