Everyone wants that solid six-pack abs. This is why every time I go to the gym I see people all lined up crunching as hard as they can. People will brag about doing 250 crunches at the gym, slap their stomach, and say they are going to have abs in no time.
Sadly it doesn’t work that way.
Don’t get me wrong; crunches are a great toning exercise if done correctly.
People think they can just do crunches and instantly have washboard abs. You have to be skinny to achieve this. If you don’t already have the right body build before you start crunching you can actually start to grow muscle on top of your fat.
You have to work off that existing fat before crunching like a mad person.
Most people won’t be able to get a six-pack that is just a fact of life; our muscles are all shaped differently. You want to get lean and crunches don’t help with that.
What crunches do is target a very specific muscle group. It would be like trying to get a perfectly toned arm but only doing a standard bicep curl.
People tend to think that if they want a flatter stomach they need to crunch it. You will actually lose more weight and gain a flatter stomach by engaging in a full body workout then just by working on your abs. It you strengthen all muscles in your body you cause your metabolism to work faster. If you work out correctly you can get an after burn where you can continue burning an amazing amount of calories for up to 36 hours.
Now, exercising the core is important but you need to do more then crunches. The core should be utilized in the majority of your exercise. It helps you keep balanced instead of flying all over the place and pulling your back.
Sit-ups are the same way, so if you’re thinking ‘I do sit-ups and crunches I’m okay!’ You’re wrong. They both target the same muscle area.
If you do feel like you’re going to do a crunch, I’d prefer you do it right. Fifteen well executed crunches will do a lot more for your core then 150 poorly executed. When working out it is important to remember quality over quantity.
A Proper Crunch
Lay on your back with your knees bent and raised at about a 90 degree angle. Put your hands behind your head, not grasping your head or your neck. Some people fold their arms across their chest, again don’t get grabby.
Inhale and draw your belly to your spine, then crunch your stomach bringing your knees towards you elbows. If you can see your elbows while you’re crunching you’re doing it wrong and likely putting strain on your shoulders or neck.
Exhale fall back down to your laying position.
You can also do this without having your feet lifted off the ground and are instead stationary with knees bent.
So if you are going to crunch, do it right!