Crunches – How to perform the exercise
Crunches are an abdominal exercise and quite a popular one. It is commonly used in strength- training programs. Learn how to do it properly to avoid injury and to get the most benefits out of it. That is especially important if you have problems with your neck or lower back.
They are a wonderful way to work on your abs and target primarily the rectus abdominis – a muscle which we tend to call the ‘6-pack muscle’.
How to perform it
Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground at a hip-width distance.
Put your hands behind your neck with your thumbs being behind the ears.
Your shoulders should be out to your sides while slightly rounded in.
Slightly tilt your chin so that between it and your chest there are a few inches.
Curl forward and up to lift your head and your shoulder blades off the ground.
While at top position, pause for a second. Then start slowly going back down.
Mistakes to avoid
Do not crunch too high. You should only lift your shower blades a few inches off the ground.
Moreover, do not jerk up the shoulders because that way you are using momentum, thus, reducing the overall effect of the exercise. Move slowly, steadily and without using any momentum.
Also, do not relax when you get back down on the floor. Keep your shoulders and your abs under tension at the whole time.
Do not yank your neck. If you cannot stop yourself from doing that then cross your arms over the chest or place the tips of your fingers around the ears.
A common mistake is to hold your breath during the exercise. That way you are depriving your body of oxygen, which is definitely not going to make any good. Exhale while moving up and inhale while moving down.
Ensure that you are in the correct initial position. Your spine should be in a neutral position. To do this really stick your hips behind yourself, then tuck them as in as you can and then find the position in the middle.
Another mistake is to do quick repetitions with a small range of motion. To get the most out of the exercise you need to use the full range of motion. Moreover, do not do too many crunches.
Do a smaller number of them but focus on performing them with the perfect technique.
Do not draw in your elbows. In addition, your hands should NOT pull on your neck. Exhale during the upwards motion and inhale while lowering yourself back down. Do the repetitions slowly and steadily. Moreover, do not overdo the exercise.
If you see that your back is arching too much, then may be your abs aren’t strong enough yet. To fix this issue put your feet on some platform or a step to support your back better.
In addition, after we gave you the information about the proper technique and the most common mistakes, we would like to show you a video in which you can see how exactly crunches are done: