ABsolutely Core Crazed- Bunches of Crunches
View previous post in this series, ABsolutely Core Crazed.
Most trainers think crunches are a waste of time and have no functional benefit in our daily lives. They are correct. So why do I still do them?
I like the results. I have eliminated them from my routine. I could tell. I added them back in. I could tell. The crunches help me maintain a base to add more difficult core work.
Standard floor crunches are beneficial when the muscle contraction lasts.
- Volume matters so contraction is held for a length of time.
- Must be part of a comprehensive core workout plan. (Otherwise you risk tightening your hip flexors and maintaining weak lower abs, obliques, back, etc.).
For standard floor crunches, I elevate my feet so my lower back is flush with the floor at all times.
I do 1000 at a time without rest. I never go fully flat with my head back on the mat. My abs are contracted for at least 12-15 minutes.
Start with 25 or 50 but each week increase your volume or hold the contraction when you pull up for a 10 count. (Britney Spears did volumes of crunches to get her famous mid-section in her early music videos).
Here are my favorites with a few twists. My absolute number 1 favorite core exercise is included!
- Elevate feet with lower back flush to the floor
- Hands gently behind head and elbows pointed to the side
- Relax chin and do not pull on neck
- Lift to feel contraction while going up AND down
- You do not need to go fast but don’t rest in between contractions
- Form first but volume a close second
Weighted Floor Crunch
- Same as floor crunch except with hand holding weight under chin
Flat Core Hold Crunch
- Flat on back with one knee bent toward chest
- Lift straight leg off floor and hold
- Make sure lower back stays flush with floor or place hands under your rear to stabilize your lower back
Russian Twist with Straight Legs
- Flat on back with hands stabilizing core out to your sides a little away from the body
- Both legs straight up in air and rotate entire core from side to side allowing your body to twist
Decline Bench Sit Ups
- Elevate decline bench according to your strength level and work toward elevating as high as it will go
- Lock your ankles under the pads and keep hands at your sides
- Very slowly lower your body back until inverted
- Quickly sit back up and grab bar for just a second before slowly going back down.
- Concentrate on the slow descent in your sets
Decline Bench Sit Ups with Weighted Twists
- This is more advanced and harder the steeper the incline. Place one weight on the floor at the base of the bench.
- In between sets of 1o of the Decline Bench Sit Ups, grab a weight from the floor while your head is down, come half way up, and twist while holding the weight in front of you going side to side. The more twist, the better.
- Do as many as you can before returning the weight to the floor and starting another set of Sit Ups.
- Modification: if these are too difficult on the bench, try them while seated on the ground with your knees bent and feet slightly elevated off the ground.
Pullover Crunches: My favorite core exercise!
- Grab a challenging weight you can hold onto with both hands.
- Lay flat on a weight bench with the back of your head on the rear edge of the bench (very important as you don’t want to be too far in which can hurt your shoulders or too far out which can hurt your neck).
- Lift the weight up and back behind your head (you should feel it in your triceps) and then bring forward as you lift your knees toward your chest and reach the weight over your knees (you will be in a crunch position now). Then extend the weight back, straighten legs and repeat.
- These should be hard on your abs no matter how good of shape you are in. Add weight or reps to feel the burn and watch your form carefully. Do not let your body rock but maintain slow, controlled movements.