What Are Crunches Exercise?
If you’re aiming to build a stronger core, then crunches are one of the most popular exercises that nearly every trainer or fitness enthusiast would recommend you to begin with. But do you perform a crunch properly?
If you want to ensure optimum results with crunches, you need to ensure that you’re performing them the right way. In fact, if you're not doing them correctly, you might be doing more harm than good. Below, we'll show you how to do a crunch the right way—and why it's such an important exercise for your core.
What Are Crunches and Why Are They Important?
Even if you’re new to the world of fitness and exercise, you must be aware of the fact that crunches are one of the most popular abdominal exercises because of the numerous ways that they can benefit you. They're a simple and effective anaerobic exercise, and they work your core muscles—the muscles in your midsection that support your spine and help you with everyday activities.
Your core muscles are important for everything from posture to balance to strength. Working them regularly can help you stay strong and healthy, and can also reduce your risk of injuries in the long run.
So why not give crunches a try? This guide will show you how to do them safely and effectively.
What Muscles Does a Crunch Work?
A crunch is a great exercise for targeting the muscles in your core. Specifically, it works the rectus abdominis muscles, which are the ones that give you that coveted six-pack.
But crunches aren't just for your abs! They also work your hip flexors, which are the muscles at the front of your hips. These are important muscles to target, as weak hip flexors can lead to a host of problems, including joint pain and low back pain.
How to Do a Proper Crunch Exercise?
Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart, legs bent to 90 degrees. Place your hands on the floor beside you, palms down.
Tighten your abs and press your lower back into the floor. Dig your heels into the floor, and lift your torso and upper legs into the air, extending your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other, similar to a bench press. Hold for two seconds, then slowly lower to the starting position.
Different Types of Crunch Exercises
There are a few different types of crunch exercises, and each one targets a different area of your core.
Seated crunches: Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Place your hands on the sides of your head, and then lean back slightly. From here, lift your shoulders off the chair and curl your upper body forward. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Reverse crunches: Lie on your back on the floor with your legs in the air and your knees bent. Place your hands on the floor beside you. From here, curl your hips off the floor and towards your chest, then slowly lower them back down. Repeat.
Oblique crunches: Lie on your back on the floor with both legs in the air and your knees bent. Place one hand behind your head and place the other hand on the floor beside you. From here, lift your shoulders off the floor and twist your upper body to one side, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Crunches
A common mistake people make when doing crunches is that they curl their necks up too high, which can put strain on the neck and cause intense pain. Instead, focus on lifting your upper back and shoulder blades off the floor while keeping your chin down.
Another mistake people make is using momentum to swing the torso up, instead of using the abs to lift. This not only takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise but can also lead to serious injury. Therefore, be sure to go slow and controlled, and really focus on engaging your abs.
Finally, some people tend to hold their breath when doing crunches. This can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, so it's important to breathe normally throughout the exercise.
So, to recap, crunches are a great exercise to help strengthen your core. They're simple to do and can be easily incorporated into your regular workout routine. Remember to focus on your breathing and avoid crunching your neck, and you'll start seeing results in no time.
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Summary Of What Are Crunches Exercise
Crunches are a simple and effective exercise that works your core muscles
This exercise specifically targets your rectus abdominal muscles and hip flexors
To perform a crunch, you need to lie flat on the ground with your legs bent and use your core muscles to lift your torso and upper legs off the ground
The different types of crunches include seated crunches, reverse crunches, and oblique crunches
While performing crunches, ensure that you’re not curling your neck up too high, using momentum to swing your torso up, or holding your breath