How many of you want nice abs? This is something I obsess over! Technique and form in any exercise is important. So, here’s an article about How to Perform Effective Ab Crunches

The Basic Crunch

This exercise works the upper area of your stomach and abs.

1. Start out by lying on your back.

2. Place your hands crossed on your chest and lie flat on the floor with your knees bent.  You should always bend your knees because it provides necessary support for your lower back.

Some people like to place their hands behind their head but this is not the ideal position because you can strain your neck.  What happens is when you get tired you have a tendency to pull on your neck (rather than your abs) to complete the exercise.

3. Slowly raise yourself up using your abs while pressing your lower back to the floor.  As you reach the top of the crunch slowly exhale.   Then slowly lower your back down to the flow as you inhale.

4. Repeat this process 20 to 25 times and rest for about 90 seconds.  Then perform 2-3 more sets of crunches with 90 second rests between each set and you’re done for the day!

Remember, the key is not to do 500 crunches at a time.  The reason is, after the first 20 or 30 reps, your body gets lethargic and you end up “cheating” and not getting the full effect of the exercise anyway.

Always do a small amount (20 to 25) controlled movements at a time.  You should really feel your ab muscles working by the time you hit 20.  If not, you’re not working your stomach and abs the way you should.  Remember to focus that movement right in your middle section.

If your neck feels more worked than your middle section, you’re not doing the crunches properly.

The Reverse Crunch

These exercises work the lower portion of your abdominals.

1. Start by lying on your back.  Bend your knees slightly with your legs in the air and cross your ankles.

2. Place your arms on the floor along side you.

3. Rest your head on the floor while keeping your back straight.

4. Slowly raise your hips about 2 inches off the floor.  Try to keep your hips steady without rolling then backwards.

5. Hold this position for about 2-3 seconds and really squeeze or crunch your abdominal muscles while keeping your head and shoulders on the floor.

6. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor and repeat the process.

Again, you should really feel your lower abs working after about 20 to 25 ab crunches.  Take a 90 second rest after your first rep and then do 2 to 3 more.

Proper Breathing When Crunching

When doing ab crunches, it’s important to exhale and breathe out as much air as possible on your way up from the floor. This adds more power to the movement and you will be working your abs more effectively.

Once you get to the top of the crunch movement, breathe in and out a few times before you lower your body down to the floor.