Crunches – types and effects. How to do sit-ups correctly?

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Crunches are a popular form of exercise designed to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Many myths have arisen about their alleged slimming effect. Unfortunately, crunches alone without cardio training and a properly balanced diet will not make the bellies and bellies a thing of the past. It’s very important to understand this before taking on the next challenge that promises a perfect figure after doing a thousand crunches. We can only be bitterly disappointed and additionally develop health problems.

  1. Before you start exercising, be sure to do a warm-up
  2. According to the trainers, the biggest mistake in doing sit-ups is tearing the lower back off the mat and pulling the head
  3. It should be remembered that the effect of a flat stomach is achieved by combining cardio exercises with modeling exercises and a proper diet. Crunches alone are not enough
  4. You can find more such stories on the TvoiLokony home page

How to do sit-ups correctly?

Warming up should not be underestimated – it is a good method of preparing your body for exercise and avoiding stress. One of the most common mistakes is tearing your lower back off the mat and pulling your head instead of working with your abdominal muscles alone. In this way, it is easy to put stress on the cervical and lumbar spine, which will not bring any effects and will cause unnecessary pain the next day.

Crunches will not burn fat unless combined with endurance training, or cardio training. Websites are full of crunch-only exercises that promise a perfectly flat stomach – a myth that should not be duplicated.

Adipose tissue cannot burn if only one part is involved in exercise, e.g. stomach or thighs. In addition, to lose excess kilos, you need a proper diet that will provide the body with energy and all the necessary nutrients, and will speed up the metabolism. You have to remember that training is only half the battle and it should be supported by changing unhealthy eating habits.

Also check: Metabolism – how can it be accelerated?

Crunches – effects

Abdominals primarily strengthen the abdominal and spine muscles, which include are responsible for a stable posture. In addition, the spine will better withstand various daily stresses. This type of exercise also has an excellent effect on firming and elasticizing the skin, as exercise promotes the production of collagen. Another effect is a shaped waist, especially when the oblique abdominals are involved in training.

The obvious and basic advantage of crunches is the increased strength of our spine. The crunches work on all the abdominal muscles, but mainly the rectus abdominis muscle, which is a long, segmented muscle that makes up the coveted ‘six-pack’. Crunches also work on the transverse abdominal muscles as well as the internal and external oblique muscles.

In addition to building strength in your spine, crunches can help improve your spine’s stability and control. Stability of the spine is important in daily activities and in preventing pain as you age. Moreover, the stability and control of our spine’s movement mean that you can easily carry out your daily duties.

Exercising crunches properly involves moving every vertebra in the spine. People with reduced mobility may have difficulty initially crunching crunches properly because they may not be able to bend and straighten the spine as needed. However, over time and practice, crunches can improve spine flexibility and mobility, leading to all sorts of secondary benefits, including reducing back pain.

Also read: Exercises for the spine – TOP 5 exercises for a healthy spine

Crunches – types and how to make them

Standard crunches

Standard crunches are made on the floor. For added comfort, place an exercise mat or yoga mat on the floor.

In order to perform (of course correctly) standard crunches follow these recommendations:

  1. Lie on your back. Place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Bend your knees and place your hands on your chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles and inhale
  2. Raise your upper body as you exhale, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  3. Inhale and return to the starting position.

Safety tips when performing standard sit-ups

  1. When doing sit-ups, try to raise your upper body. If the movement comes from the head or neck you increase the risk of injury.
  2. Move slowly, in a controlled manner. Rapid movements will not engage the right muscles,
  3. You can put your hands behind your head, but it can put a strain on your neck. It is best to try this hand positioning after you have mastered the correct form of exercise.

Oblique crunches

Oblique crunches are an intermediate version of the standard crunches. They work on both the abdominal and oblique muscles. To make oblique crunches correctly, follow the directions below.

  1. Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows outward
  2. “Punch up” your abdominal muscles. Raise your knees to 90 degrees and lift your upper body. This is your starting position
  3. Breathe out and rotate your torso while bringing your right elbow and left knee toward you. At the same time, straighten your right leg. Pause,
  4. Breathe in and come back to the starting position
  5. Exhale. Move your left elbow to your right knee and straighten your left leg. Pause. This completes 1 rep.

Crunches – common mistakes

Exercising crunches correctly requires great body awareness and muscle control. Unfortunately, various mistakes may appear at the beginning of the adventure with crunches. Next time you do sit-ups, try to avoid the following mistakes:

Neck lift

It is not uncommon for people to adopt a “forward” posture during crunches. This error is characterized by the bending of the neck forward and the rounding of the shoulders. Twisting your neck during crunches can cause pain and stiffness, and in the worst case it can tense the muscles in your neck or upper back.

Using too much of the hip flexor

When doing crunches, the main muscles that work are the abdominals and the hip flexors. People who flex their hip flexors at first may inadvertently use these muscles (instead of the abdomen) to straighten their torso. The goal is to use more abdominals and fewer hip flexors to get the crunch done correctly.

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