For perfect core undoubtedly, crunches are the best exercise. Your core comprises of your abs, oblique muscles on the side of your trunk, muscles in your pelvis, lower back and hip. These muscles play a very vital role in our body.
First and foremost, the abdominal muscles protect our organs from injury or shock. If you have your abdominal muscles flexed and someone punches you on your stomach, you will not get hurt because these muscles will act as a shield for your stomach.
Secondly, all the muscles which contribute to forming a core provide stability and balance to your body. These are the muscles that help in defining your posture.
Crunches work on the specific regions of your abdominal muscles. There are many types of crunches and it takes a lot to decide which one is the right for you but trust us, there is one for everyone. So, to help you in this we have bought a fitness and mixed martial arts enthusiast Karthik to help you decide which crunch is for you. “Despite the popularity of the crunches, they are not suitable for everyone. For the people who have back relates issues and neck problems, you should avoid doing crunches because while doing these, your back and neck go through a lot of stress” say Karthik while talking about crunches.
In this article, along with Karthik, we will be talking about crunches and their types so that you can choose whether they are the right fit for you or not.
1. Basic or Traditional Crunches
How To The Basic Or Tradition Crunch?
1. Lie down on the floor on your back and bend your knees. Keep both feet hips apart.
2. Now, place your hands behind your head or across your chest.
3. Slowly contract your abdominals, bringing your shoulder blades about 1 or 2 inches off the floor.
4. Now, contract your abs and inhale. Make sure you are pulling your belly button to your spine and tightening your abs.
5. Now, exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
6. Hold at the top of the movement for a few seconds, breathing continuously.
7. Slowly lower back down.
8. Repeat 10-15 times and do 3 sets.
- It is beginner-friendly.
- No gym equipment is required.
- Do not put too much strain on your neck. It could risk a neck injury.
- Do not do it rapidly. Always do it in a slow and controlled manner.
2. Bicycle Crunches
How to do a bicycle crunch?
1. Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
2. Now, place your arms behind your head, pointing your elbows outward.
3. Contract your abs. Pull your shoulder blades back and slowly raise your knees to about a 90-degree angle, lifting your feet from the floor.
4. Exhale and like a bicycle rotation, rotate your trunk, moving your right elbow and left knee toward each other. Simultaneously straighten your right leg.
5. Inhale and return to starting position.
6. Exhale and alternate.
7. Repeat 10-15 times. Consider doing 3 sets.
- Works on your core as well as your things.
- Do not rotate your hip, let your torso do the working.
- Just like basic crunches, do not put too much strain on your neck as their are chances of an injury.
3. Reverse Crunch
How to do a Reverse Crunch?
1. Lay on your back and bend your legs at knees at 90 degrees parallel to the ground.
2. Keep your hands behind your head.
3. Contract your abs and exhale.
4. Now curl your hips and knees towards your chest but keep the knees at the same angle.
5. Do it like a traditional crunch and feel it in the centre of your core.
6. Inhale and come back to the starting position.
7. Repeat 10-15 times. Do it in 3 sets.
- It is a good exercise for thighs and hips.
- It works on most of the abdominal muscles.
- Do not do reverse crunch fast. They should be performed slowly.
- Maintaining the right position during curling up and coming down.
4. Cross Over Crunches
How to do a Cross Over Crunch?
1. Lay on your back and bend your knees. Keep your hands behind your head.
2. Now keep your right ankle on your left knee.
3. Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles and slowly raise your upper body just like a basic crunch.
4. Twist your torso and bring your left elbow to your right knee until they touch.
5. Reverse the twist and inhale as you slowly lower your upper body back.
6. Now alternate your ankle and knee.
7. Repeat 10-15 times.
- It is good for your internal and external oblique muscles.
- Good for the body movement.
- Do not exert too much pressure on your torso while twisting.
- Going too fast.
- Pulling your neck too much can risk neck injury.
5. Scissor Crunches
How to do a Scissor Crunch?
1. Lay on your back and keep your legs outstretched.
2. Keep your hands on the sides.
3. Lift your shoulder and head slightly and tighten your abdominal muscles.
4. Now, lift both your legs making sure that only your lower back, hands and hips touch the ground.
5. Now, leave your right leg higher.
6. After right leg, use your left leg. Keep on alternating the legs like a scissor-like motion..
7. Repeat 10-15 times. Do 3 sets of it.
- It is good for thighs and calves muscles.
- It is good for abdominal muscles.
- Doing it too fast.
- Not keeping the right posture while doing it.
6. Toe-touch Crunches
How to do a Toe-Touch Crunch?
1. Lay down on your back. Keep your arms on your side.
2. Keep your legs joined and take them straight up in the air.
3. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
4. Now lift your hands up and try to touch your toes.
5. Try your arms reaching upwards and continue to go up and down.
6. Repeat 10-15 times. Do 3 sets of this.
- It is a good crunch to maintain balance.
- It strengthens your core as well as leg muscles.
- Doing it too fast can strain your neck muscle.
- Not keeping your legs straight.
Things To Keep In Mind While Doing Crunches
1. If you have a back injury, consider an alternative to crunches as they cause a lot of stress on your back and worsen the injury.
2. The neck position should be kept in mind because poorly done crunches can cause severe neck pains.
3. If not done right can be counterproductive and result in bad postures.
Our Final Thoughts
Any exercise you do should be done keeping your body in mind. If you think crunches are for you, don’t hesitate to do it. However, if you have any injury which could potentially get worse by doing crunches should be avoided. Look for an alternative and mild exercise in that scenario.