The Benefits of Crunches

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The Benefits of Crunches

Crunches are intended to tone the core muscles of the body. As an effective form of exercise, you should take a close look at crunches’ benefits and how to perform them properly.

An introduction of Crunches

The exercise helps boost the core muscles, improve posture, and enhance the muscles’ flexibility and mobility. When you engage in this type of exercise, the rectus abdominus and the oblique muscles are tightened.

Although not 100% effective in cutting down fat from the body, the exercise will build muscle mass and improve your body’s ability to burn fat effectively. Additionally, the density of your muscles will be enhanced.

What are the benefits of crunches?

Doctors, physical therapists, and fitness experts agree that there are several benefits associated with performing crunches.

Some of the benefits you will gain if you do crunches include the following in your workout routine.

  • Abdominal crunches can help burn calories in the body. Based on studies, it has been established that executing crunches for half an hour can burn a large number of calories – specifically 300 calories.
  • Crunches are highly effective in improving your balance since they help in strengthening the muscles in your abdomen.
  • The crunches are vital in improving your posture. In case your posture is improved, it not only helps you effectively carry out your day-to-day activities but lowers the risk of suffering from any form of pain in the back muscle or lower back.
  • Endurance-building exercise. The central role of the abs is to stabilize your midsection. It helps maintain good posture, provides support while lifting heavy objects, and allows you to twist and rotate.
    Crunches help improve endurance in the abdominal muscles.
  • Performing crunches one day a week can improve your endurance among those who had no previous abdominal exercises training.
  • Better than gadgets. If you have seen various gadgets that promise to burn fat, you might have tried and end up with false results.
    Sadly, most of these promises are too good to be true. In one study that compared the ab circle pro, ab lounge, ab roller, and ab rocket against the standard crunch, it was noted that not one of these tools were effective in activating the abdominal muscles.
    The best part about crunches is that you can perform it even with limited floor space.

What is the proper crunch form?

Crunches will not provide you with any benefits and might harm if you do not perform it correctly. I recommend moving through each repetition at a steady pace in getting the best results.
Try concentrating on your abs’ anatomical function as a connector of the ribs and pelvis, so you will draw these areas together while performing crunches.

  • Lie on the floor on your back and bend your knees. Position your feet securely on the floor at a relaxing gap from your buttocks.
  • Allow your hands to cradle your head. Make sure that your elbows are away from your ears.
  • Breathe out and draw your belly button in toward your spine. Try visualizing that they are compressing together to help your lower back press into the floor. At the same time, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat. Take note that there is no need to lift higher.
  • Hold momentarily and breathe out while you lower your upper body back down to the mat. Ensure that you keep your feet, low back, and tailbone in contact with the mat while you roll up and down.

What are the common mistakes during crunches?

Remember that executing crunches properly is harder than it looks. I strongly urge you to avoid these errors so your exercise will be as effective as possible.

I will share below some of the common mistakes that you should avoid while performing crunches.

Pulling on your neck.

This will strain on your neck. Make sure that the movement starts in your abs, not from your head. I suggest placing your fist under your chin to keep your neck in the right alignment and not moving.

Crunching too high.

As a subtle movement, simply lift your shoulder blades a few inches off the floor. If you will jerk your shoulders up, it adds momentum and lessens the effectiveness of the exercise. Remember that it takes time to establish strength in your abs, so try to take your time and perform the move steadily.

Relaxing down to the floor.

It might be easy to allow your shoulders to fall to the floor, but an effective approach that I will share is to keep the tension on your abs during the exercise. Avoid completely relaxing the shoulders onto the floor.

Back arch.

It was recommended to flatten your back against the floor during the entire movement in the previous years.
Today, it is better to maintain a neutral spine. It merely means that your spine is in the strongest position to support you. A quick technique to find it is to rock your pelvis back and forward and allow your pelvis to relax somewhere between the two extremes.

In case your back arches excessively, it is a sign that your abs require time to build up strength. I suggest supporting your feet on a step or platform to provide your back with some support.

Safety precautions

For those who have neck or back problems, it might be best to consult your doctor or physical therapist first on whether crunches are suitable for you.
If the exercise is not performed correctly, it can lead to the spine’s compression and strain the neck.
Crunches must be avoided after the first trimester of pregnancy as soon as the belly expands.

Final Thoughts

Crunches can effectively engage the abdominal muscles. It is a recommended exercise that you can include in your workout routine.
With the steps on how to perform crunches, the benefits you will gain, and other useful tips that I shared, you are on the way to perfect crunches in no time.

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