The secret to rock-hard washboard abs is getting your core muscles right, adding cardio to your core workouts, and managing all of your diet. This may not sound like a surprise to you, but what happens when your diet is kept in check, when you get a lot of cardio, and when you “chop up” it for what appears to be an eternity … all to find that you are not getting the results that you want You achieve expect from !! ??
To get to the “core” of what’s holding you back from this 6-pack, let’s focus on the simple crisis and dive deep into the technical aspects of establishing a good shape!
Importance of good form
The basic crisis is one of the most famous and most frequently performed exercises in history! In theory, it̵
But if not done correctly, this simple movement can actually cause more harm than good. Poor shape can cause lower back and neck problems, and your abs can suffer if you are not kept busy while exercising.
To check that you are exercising your abs properly while crunching, here is a list of “crunching do’s” and “no-no’s”.
• Do the crunch exercise slowly and in a controlled manner to get the most out of the exercise.
• Press your fingertips into the back of your head and rest your head in your fingers / hands.
• Engage your abs by pulling them up and in to support the spine
• Keep your head, neck and shoulders off the surface of the floor to prevent fractures
• Protect your lower back by keeping it strong and engaged.
• Complement your crunches by lying on your stomach and doing controlled back extensions.
• Avoid protruding beyond your lower back.
• Avoid pulling your neck with your hands or pressing your elbows into your head.
• Faster is not always better. Move slowly and in a controlled manner so your abs contract, strengthen, and improve.
• Don’t hold your breath! When you do this, air is forced into your stomach by creating a pouch or protruding midsection.
• Don’t get fixated on multiple repetitions. Less can be more. That way, you can really focus on doing the exercise properly.
LEARNING THE BASICS: IMPRINT AGAINST NEUTRAL BACK
The natural position of the spine, while containing natural curves, is known as the neutral spine. The neutral spine position is best because it mimics daily life. However, it is very common for people who lack internal abdominal strength to have difficulty maintaining a neutral position in the spine and pelvis.
SUMMARY OF THE NEUTRAL BACK
• The spine remains in its “natural” curve during the exercise. Depending on the core exercise being performed, the range of motion will be different to maintain the normal curve.
• As a rule, to determine a neutral spine, no tension should be felt in the lumbar spine. If so, move to the printed position.
Unlike a neutral spine position, an embossed position is when the lower part of the spine (lower back) presses into the surface of the ground. The feedback from pressing (imprinting) the lower back is felt immediately in the abdominal muscles. Although flattening the spine loses its natural curve, activating the abdominal muscles is an important sensation that can be seen as you perform the movement.
• Imprint is a Pilates term associated with flattening the spine or pushing into the support base to feel the abdominal muscles activate.
• There is a slight incline of the pelvis so that the lower spine is in contact with the surface.
• Most crunch exercises are performed on an embossed spine.
PERFECT YOUR CRUNCH
Wherever you do your crunches, maintaining correct form is important! The Total Gym can help you make sure your shape is right (no spotter required)! Below are the benefits of integrating the Total Gym into your crunches:
One of the most common ways to lose shape is to lift your upper body off the floor. This is where the versatility of the Total Gym comes into play! The incline in the Total Gym can be adjusted accordingly to support (or challenge) your abs. For those with less core strength, position your glide board so your torso is higher than your hips. This simple variation allows anyone to get their own crunch right the first time! The glide board can be modified at any time to make it more difficult when you’re ready!
Here is a more detailed explanation and procedure for performing the crunch in the Total Gym for all strengths and levels of difficulty.
1. Choose a low to medium incline. (The higher the incline, the easier the exercise. The lower, the more difficult.)
2. Lie on the gliding board with your head closest to the tower. Bend your knees, place your feet flat on the gliding board and hip-width apart.
3. Put your hands on your head with your thumbs close to your ears. Depending on the range of motion of the shoulder and abdominal strength, you can also place your fingertips behind the base of the neck for support. (Just don’t press your neck with your hands.)
4. Open your elbows sideways to keep your chest open.
5. Pull your chin together slightly to maintain the natural curve of your spine. There is a small space between the chin and chest … so no double chins, please!
6. Contract your abs and inhale to prepare for takeoff …
7. Exhale as your torso (head, neck, shoulder blades) roll off the surface.
8. Hold the raised position for a moment, then slowly lower it back down to the starting position.
NOTE: When you print, there is NO space between your lower back and the surface you are lying on. When you are in a neutral spine, the range of motion is limited in order to maintain the same distance between your lower back and the surface during the crunch.
Be sure to check out the video to see how you can brush up on your crunch shape!