Flatten Your Abs through Abdominal Crunches
By Dr. Angello on November 13, 2012
The most popular ab exercise is the abdominal crunch. This is a very effective exercise when done properly. Crunches will definitely tone, shape and strengthen your abdominal muscles, which are also known as, rectus abdominis. Like any workout, it is very important that you first consult your doctor before you perform the exercise. This is especially true if you have any back or neck problems. Alternative exercises may be recommended to you to strengthen your core, instead of crunches. Moreover, always follow the proper way of doing crunches, and perform the exercise only in comfortable and safe locations, and wearing the proper exercise attire. Remember, crunches are focused in strengthening your abdominal muscles, so you should feel the impact in the abdominal area. If you’re feeling pain at your lower back, neck or in any other part of your body, during or after doing crunches, then this may be an indication that you are not doing it correctly. You may want to seek expert help from professional trainers to ensure that you are doing crunches properly.
To perform the common abdominal crunch, you need to:
1. Lie flat on the floor, make sure that your back is resting properly on the floor, and not raised or arched.
2. Put your hands beside your head, or behind your head. Your fingers should be loosely interlocked.
3. Bend your knees.
4. Put your feet flat on the floor.
5. Raise your upper abdomen, shoulder and head forward, such that your body curls forward. As you raise your upper body, make sure to exhale.
6. Hold the position for one second, and then gently go back to your resting position with your back and head lying on the floor. Make sure you inhale as you slowly move back down.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 eight to sixteen times. If it is your first time to do this exercise, it is best to start with few repetitions only. Add more repetitions as you strengthen your abdominal muscles.
The steps above show the typical abdominal crunch but there are many variations to do crunches. Some of these focus on lower abdominal muscles or the oblique muscles. You can also use exercise or stability balls and other gym equipment during your ab workout. You can use weights to add resistance, especially if you’ve been doing crunches for a long time, and you’re no longer getting any improvements. Again, make sure to consult a professional trainer to ensure that you’re using the equipment properly.
Of course having a flat abdomen, more so a six pack can boost ones confidence, you’ll be able to wear clothes comfortably. However, there are many benefits to strengthening your abdominal muscles aside from having a great body. By strengthening your core, you help support your back. Some back problems are alleviated by strengthening your abdominal muscles. A strong core lessens the stress absorbed by your spine. Something very important considering that many aging adults suffer from back problems. So, what are you waiting for? Start strengthening those ab muscles!