It’s Crunch Time

by Joe Lawrence | November 4th, 2013 | Core, Strength Training

absWe are coming up on the greatest time of the year: the holidays. We all love the excitement and joy of spending time with family and eating all of the great meals and desserts; however, turkey and pie are not friendly to the midsection. Getting to the core requires some serious crunch time. I have never been a fan of crunches in terms of simply doing the gym class sit-ups. Just raising the shoulders off of the ground does not build a strong core. In fact, it primarily works the upper row of ab muscles. To effectively utilize the crunch there are several variations required.

First of all there is the traditional crunch, then the bicycle crunch, cross body crunch, reverse crunch, straight arm crunch.

All are important to reach all the areas of the abs and core and should be done with equal reps and sets. A good place to start is 20-25 of each and then add five to each with each workout.

The traditional crunch requires no explanation.

Bicycle crunches are done by lying on the back with the fingers on the ears. Pretend you are sitting on a bike with the feet on the pedals. Ride the bike and when both legs complete the cycle that it is one rep. Moving the feet in this motion help work the lower abs.

Cross body crunches are great for the oblique muscles. To complete these lay on your back and complete the crunch by having your right elbow touch your left knee and then the left elbow to the right knee. When both are complete, that is one rep.

Next there is the reverse crunch that is very similar to a leg raise. Lay on your back and stretch your arms out to your sides and plant your shoulders onto the ground. Then raise your legs toward your head trying to get your knees to your forehead. The actual goal is to get your butt and lower back completely off of the ground. When doing these try to avoid rocking on your back and keep the motions fluid.

Lastly, there is the straight arm crunch. Get onto your back once again into a crunch position. This time raise your arms above your head. Do a traditional crunch keeping your arms stretched above your head. This variation changes the focus of the stress placed on the abs and makes the workout more challenging. To add even more challenge grab a big heavy book, dumbbell, or anything with some weight.

I like to do these five exercises in three sets of 25. That is 375 reps and a pretty solid core workout. It is a complete ab system and doing this three times a week will get you on a path to stronger core and work off some of the holiday calories we are about to enjoy.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.