One of my favorite exercises to do is the abdominal crunch. Some people do not like them, which is fine. All exercises are not for everybody. But I happen to find them to be very effective and easy to do. I like crunches because you can do them virtually anyplace. I often drop and do them between commercials while watching television, or I incorporate them into my overall exercise routine.
They are particularly good when traveling, especially if you can’t get to a gym. You can do a crunch on a mat or a towel, with or without dumbbells; but sometimes I will do them seated on a stability ball. Here is how I like to do them. Regardless of your fitness level and regardless of your waist size, the crunch can fit into your workout regimen. The method can vary but this is the basic technique:
First, if doing them on the floor, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Some people place their hands across their chest while others place the hands behind the head. Either method is fine. Placing your hands behind your head creates a little more resistance and may require a little more effort.
Next, rise up off the floor, exhaling as you rise up approximately three or four inches (about a 30 degree angle) keeping your feet flat, and hold for about three seconds and return to the starting position and inhaling on your way back down. Repeat for a total of 12 repetitions. If you can’t do that many, try fewer repetitions.
If you use a stability ball with your regimen, follow these general principles laying on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Experiment with the ball’s firmness to find what work’s best for your comfort level. I prefer it fairly firm (like I do my mattress and pillows) but other people prefer it soft.
Like I said, crunches may not be for everyone. But I find them to be a great way to tighten up the abs and the sides as well and strengthen your core. Peep this how-to video. I don’t like this trainer’s personality (that’s the key ingredient to being a great trainer — personality) but she has good technique. So I’ll give her her props. Search for more on your own: