Fitness Education: Abdominal Crunch

 

In today’s #HBHeathAtHome Fitness Education video, Home Base Exercise Physiologist Marlene DaCosta demonstrates the Abdominal Crunch. This classic core training exercise specifically works the rectus abdominus muscle which is located on the front wall of the abdomen.

We will start with beginner versions of this exercise and progress to advanced versions.

Abdominal Crunch with Feet on the Ground

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps and gradually progress to 3 sets of 20-25 repetitions.

To start, lie on your back with your knees bent.  Place your hands behind your head to provide light support for your neck.  Your chin should be slightly tucked with your low back is pressed into the floor.

Lift your shoulders and head from the floor as one unit.  Return until your shoulders touch the floor and repeat.  Exhale through your mouth as you come up, inhale quietly through your nose as you return.  Keep your elbows back and your eyes fixed in one spot which helps to keep your head still. Your movements should be smooth and controlled.

If you have a shoulder injury or a tendency to pull on your head, placing your arms across your chest is an alternative that’s demonstrated here.  (Include these words on the screen) To avoid neck strain, it is important to keep your chin tucked (about the size of your fist or a tennis ball held under your chin) throughout the movement which helps to keep your neck and head in a fixed position.

Abdominal Crunch Tabletop Legs Position

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps and gradually progress to 3 sets of 20-25 repetitions.

The first progression is in the tabletop legs position.  To start, pick your feet up off the floor to flex your knees to 90 degrees.  Depending on your preference, you may lightly place your hands behind your head or place your arms across your chest.  Maintain this tabletop position as you perform the crunch.  Exhale as you rise and inhale as you lower your shoulders to the floor.  Keep your chin tucked and do not allow your hips to drift forward.  Your movements should be slow and controlled.

Raised Legs Position

Start with 3 sets of 10 reps and gradually progress to 3 sets of 20-25 repetitions.

In this progression, you will perform the movement with raised legs.  You may place your hands lightly behind your head, arms crossed to opposite shoulders, or extend your arms as you reach toward your feet.  Exhale as you go up and inhale as you descend.  Keep your chin tucked and do not allow your legs to drift.