How to do crunches

Crunches have a number of advantages over traditional sit ups, especially when it comes to the stresses that they put on your spine when you do them.  If you kow how to do crunches properly, you’ll find that they isolate your abdominal muscles really well, and help to give you an enviable flat stomach and great muscle tone.

Here’s our guide on how to do crunches properly to maximise the impact while keeping your back safe.

Step 1

Start by lying on the floor, with your feet flat on the ground, and your knees bent:

 

Crunch Starting Position

Correct starting position for a crunch

Step 2

With your arms crossed against your chest, use only your abdominal muscles to curl your shoulders upwards a couple of inches of the ground.

Crunch finishing position

Middle position, with stomach tense

Step 3

Hold the position for a few seconds to work your abs hard, and then relax back into your starting position ready for the next repetition.

How many crunches do you do?

It’s not always necessary to do more and more of any exercise.  There are some people who proudly manage hundreds of crunches in their abdominal workout , and they generally have a great 6-pack to show off, but bear in mind that a fantastic body comes as a result of mixing workouts with a good diet.

Try to manage 3 sets of around 10-12 crunches as part of your workout.  If you find that this isn’t working your abs hard enough, try adding resistance – holding a weight across your chest will have a big impact on how hard your crunches are, and help you make big gains.

Awesome 5 Minute Ab Workout

Great abs are the badge of honour for anyone going to the gym on a regular basis.  Our stomachs are the part of us that often push us into the gym for the first time, and they’re the bit that most of us want to get right.  This 5 minute ab workout is designed to push you hard towards a better body

You get great abs through two types of exercise:  those which tighten your abdominal muscles to give them more definition, and those which tighten your obliques and core muscles to flatten your stomach by pulling it in.  You need to do both to get the best results.

Here’s our 5 minute ab workout.  The idea is that you do each exercise for 1 minute every morning, or at the end of your regular gym session.  Make sure that you’re fully warmed up before hand, and stop immediately if you start to feel light headed or sick.

5 minute ab workout

Plank:

Plank Exercise

Start with a plank.  Rest your weight on your elbows and toes and tighten the muscles through your core.  Stiffen your body so that it is straight and parallel to the ground.  Avoid bending at the hips. Hold the position for a minute.

Crunches

CrunchesGo straight from the plank into crunches.  Keep your movement steady and focus on your upper abdominal muscles, keeping your body compact, and maintaining a steady pace and good form throughout a full minute of crunches.

Bent over Knee Raises (Mountain Climber)

Mountain ClimberPut yourself into a press-ups position with your legs out straight behind you.  Alternate lifting each of your knees up to your chest and holding them for two seconds before putting them back down. You need to hold your abs tight throughout the minute.

Leg Raises

Leg RaisesLie on your back with your legs straight.  Keeping your legs straight, raise them to a position about 1 foot off the ground before lowering them slowly back down.  For maximum benefits, alternate single leg raises with a double leg raise:  Left, double, right, double, left double  etc.

Side Plank

Side PlankRest your weight on your left arm and reach up with your right arm.  Keep your body straight.  Hold the plank for 30 seconds, and then switch over to your right arm, again holding the pose for 30 seconds.