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.

What’s the best chest workout at home?

If you don’t have access to a gym, or expensive exercise equipment it’s still possible to get great results and improve your physique at home.  You can get structured free fitness routines if you register with Vytalz, but there are also some quick wins to have if you only have 5 minutes, and want a workout that concentrates you effort on a single area of your body.

What’s the best chest workout at home?

This workout is intended to really focus your effort on your chest.  Aim for the suggested times when you first start out, and then build up as you get fitter to ensure that you still get an impact.

You’ll need:

  • A clock you can see
  • Some light weights – use a 1 litre bottle filled with water (1KG)
  • A sturdy table or step
  • A chair

What to do

Place the clock where you can see it throughout the workout.  We want to do a circuit in about 5 minutes, then repeat ( or move onto a different workout such as our 5 minute abs workout) to give you a great level of exercise.

30 Seconds Incline Press Ups

place your hands on the table so your body is at an angle to the floor, then go through a normal press up movement.  Keep your motion steady throughout the exercise.  Push hard on the way up, and return to the lower position at about half the speed in a controlled way.

60 seconds shoulder press

Sitting in your chair, hold your weights in each hand, and push them vertically upwards.  Alternate your arms, and try for a fast controlled upward motion followed by a steady downward return.

30 seconds normal press ups

Place your hands about shoulder width apart on the floor and do press-ups steadily for 30 seconds, aiming for good form – keep your body straight, and extend your arms fully on each repetition, particularly at the end of the routine.

60 seconds bicep curls

With your weights in each hand, stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your back completely straight.  Alternate curling your arms up and keep your shoulders straight and still.  feel the pull across the top of your chest.

30 seconds dips

Face away from the chair and place your hands on the edge of the seat. Lower and  raise your body in a steady and controlled way feeling the tension in the backs of your arms and across your chest – your chair should be stable, but if you feel a little nervous, get a friend to hold it, or alternatively use a step.

30 seconds straight arm raises

Stand up straight holding your weights in your hands, then, keeping your arms completely straight, swing your arms upwards into a horizontal position in front of you.  Keep the movement controlled from start to finish.

30 seconds incline press ups

Repeat the first exercise in the routine, using the edge of a table or a step to create the incline.

30 seconds side arm raises

This is more or less the same as the straight arm raises above, however rather than lifting in front of you, raise your arms out to the side.  This will really work your shoulders and upper chest.