How To Do A Basic Crunch

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating aBasic Crunch

Basic Crunches are a traditional exercise meant to strengthen your abdominals. Among the many abdominal moves to strengthen your core, crunches might be the most familiar and yet the most understood.  They might also be the most incorrectly done exercise of all time! But still, they are a solid way to get stronger abs. Since the dreaded muffin top is often an area people complain about, we want to incorporate plenty of ab work in our exercise routines. After all, looks aside, a strong core helps protect your back, improves your posture and makes other bodyweight moves easier. Crunches are one of the most common ab exercises people attempt in order to define their core and flatten their bellies. If you learn how to do Basic Crunches you ARE strengthening your abs!

Cruches used to be THE ab exercise of choice. However, crunches have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years, mainly because so many people perform them incorrectly. Not only that, but if you’re not eating a clean diet or fitting in any cardio, no amount of crunches can “spot reduce” belly fat by itself. You need to lose fat first and then sculpt muscle second.

The truth is, however, when done correctly, abdominal crunches are still one of the BEST moves you can do to build core strength, which will ultimately help define your abs. So let’s take a look at what to consider when performing a crunch, and how you can do it properly to start seeing results.

First, don’t lay on your back and relax. As soon as you get on the floor, pull you low abdominal muscles in and feel them stay tight throughout. Second, be sure to tilt your chin forward and move up and down from your chest rather than from your neck. Keep you next relaxed. Third, relax your legs as you crunch. When you tighten your leg muscles you take away from the abdominal work itself. Finally, remember to breath as you move. Exhale as you lift, inhale and lower SLOWLY. For more on this, check out our blog Are Crunches Really Worth Your Time.

1) Lie flat on your mat with knees bent and feet on the mat. Hands at the base of your head and elbows pointed out.

2) Using your abdominals bring your head and shoulders off the mat and come up into a crunch, then lower with control.

Targets: core

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