Muscles Targeted: The straight arm abdominal crunch targets the upper rectus abdominis muscle, which is commonly known as the abs. It also targets the external obliques, the outermost muscle of the abdomen and the internal obliques, which is the intermediate muscle of the abdomen. Rectus abdominis is a muscle that runs vertically along the anterior wall of the abdomen. This exercise also focuses on the middle abs. The crunch movement isolates the abdominal area since it does not involve the hip flexors.
Exercise Instructions: Begin this exercise by lying on your back on a mat in a normal sit-up position, with your feet flat on ground and your knees bent and your arms stretched out straight on each side. Simply execute a crunch while using only your abdominals and by reaching both of your arms straight out in front of you and then return slowly to the start position.
Why This Exercise is Important: Most people who go to the gym wish for a toned stomach and flat abs. This exercise helps those people in achieving the desired six-pack abs by working on the abdominal muscles in isolation. It does not involve other muscles like the hip flexors and therefore, it concentrates on the abdominal muscles alone and helps in toning the abs. People who have weak or overly tight muscles might suffer from muscle spasms and back aches. This exercise, along with other exercises in your exercise regimen, helps in developing and strengthening the back and the abs. The straight arm abdominal crunch not only helps in reducing the severity of back aches, but also reduces the risk of a back injury and helps in preventing many exercise related injuries. Because this exercise strengthens the back and the abs, it also helps in improving the posture and balance of the body.
Things To Avoid: For the straight arm abdominal crunch be sure to keep your arms in line with your head, neck and shoulders. Exercises involving the abs often put undesirable strain on the spine and the neck and therefore, some safety measures must be taken to avoid injuries. Always warm up before starting this exercise to avoid any sprains, which are the most common injury related to workouts. To avoid injuring your back do not raise your shoulders beyond 4-6 inches from the ground. Many people overextend and could injure their back while doing crunches. So avoid extending your back beyond its limit. Sudden, jerky movements can be harmful for your back, so steer clear of quick, uncontrolled movements. Focus on your breathing and avoid holding your breath. Don’t use other body parts or your body’s momentum for completing the exercise. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water as well. The abdominal muscles, like any other muscle, can be overworked and therefore, it is necessary to listen to your body and to take ample rest when required. If you experience any pain in your neck, take one hand and place it behind your head for additional support.
Reps and Sets: To maximize the benefits of this exercise, perform 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps, 3 times a week.
Other Exercises To Use: All the muscles should be targeted simultaneously to get a lean stomach and ripped six-pack abs. Include a number of floor exercises in your regimen for a complete workout. Other exercises that strengthen the middle and upper abs are fingers to toes abdominal crunches, abdominal tuck crunches and medicine ball crunches on an exercise ball. These are not the only exercises for 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 exercises that target the abs.