Top 3 Crunch Tips
If you want a strong core, you're going to have to include ab crunches in your core training routine. Crunches are the best exercise to create abdominal tension, because the resistance goes directly against the abdominal muscles' line of pull allowing you to use a greater load, e.g., more weight/resistance. Crunches also work all of your abdominal muscles, including obliques and transverse abdominis, providing a complete core workout in one exercise.
The problem with crunches is that not many people do them correctly!
Most abdominal crunches, whether performed on a machine or from the floor, look more like a Crossfit kipping crunch. If you don't know what this is, it basically allows you to swing your arms, legs or both, and use momentum (and any muscle possible) to get from point A to point B – reducing the tension produced abdominal muscles.
In fact, most crunches can hardly be called "abdominal" crunches, because they use the hip flexors more than anything. Between launching into the exercise and recruiting muscles outside the mid-section to perform the movement, your typical crunch really isn't working your core much at all.
Here are the top 3 ways maximize your crunches…
When you launch yourself up, your momentum carries you through the exercise allowing your abdominal muscles to take a break. By slowing down, you will force your core to be active throughout the entire exercise.
Curl up like a rug.
Most people focus on moving up towards the knees. This causes you to hinge at the hip which means your hip flexor muscles are actually performing the exercise. Instead, focus on curling your trunk up like a rug by pretending you're trying to jam your rib cage into your stomach. This will take away the hip hinge and force your abdominal muscles to create all the tension for the exercise.
Start with your back slightly extended.
A crunch straight from the floor takes away two-thirds of the exercise's range of motion. Put a rolled towel or pillow under your back to increase the available range of motion.
Use these tips and your core will become legendary!