Putting punch into your stomach crunch

Putting punch into your stomach crunch

By Jessica Ward

You don’t have to go too far with workouts before you come across the stomach crunch exercise. It can produce great results – but it also results in a lot of sore necks and backs if done incorrectly.  It is well worth being informed on the correct way to crunch.

What does the crunch do?

While sit-ups target a wide range of stomach and hip muscles, the crunch is very specific. It isolates and works the abdominal muscles that produce a toned stomach and eventually that highly desired ‘six-pack’. These are the ‘rectus abdominis’ and abdominal oblique muscles.

You’d have to spend all day doing crunches to burn significant calories, so as always exercise goes hand-in-hand with healthy eating.

What can go wrong?

The crunch seems very simple – but it is very easy to injure yourself with poor technique. Wrenched necks and backs from incorrect crunches are all too common.

How do I do a proper stomach crunch?

With your fingers gently behind your head and elbows pointing out to the side, look up and lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor, using your stomach muscles - not your arms - to pull yourself up. Lower down gently.

Here are some excellent techniques for a correct stomach crunch. Also remember the top tips:

  • Make sure you are warmed up
  • Look up, not forward – this avoids neck strain.
  • Keep breathing – don’t hold your breath
  • Don’t clasp your head or neck – keep arms relaxed.

What about some variations?

There are plenty of ways to improve on the basic crunch.  An exercise ball stomach crunch is a great way to add interest without being too difficult. If that is too easy, you can try suspension crunches on a cable machine. This will definitely test those abs – remember to ask for assistance to set up the machine for the first time.

For that toned stomach, you need the correct crunch and the right lunch!



Joseph M.
12 November 2014

Joseph M.

I remember my first crunch and the hours it took to get it right, it was a long time ago now.

Matthew C.
7 November 2014

Matthew C.

When I was younger somebody told me that stomach crunches were a great exercise to do if I wanted to have a strong back. Is this true?

Peter W.
7 November 2014

Peter W.

Also don't worry if you can't get all the way up to your knees - just raise a little off the floor if that's all you can manage. Just don't wrench your neck up with your hands!!!

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