When it comes to our bodies, we all have one place or another that we are somewhat unsatisfied with. You always here people say things like “I hate my thighs” or “my butt is too big”. Of course some of these things are said in jest, but there is still discontent hidden in there.
Despite it all though, the one thing that has become almost an obsession today is the way our abs look. It seems that everyone is looking for those ever elusive “six pack abs”, but much like Ponce De Leon’s search for the fountain of youth, it seems like it is impossible to find.
Now, while there is no “magical formula” for attaining a flat, firm, and toned stomach, there is something you can do that if done regularly, will get you the results that you are looking for. To get these results, stomach crunches need to be done daily but keep in mind that stomach exercises alone will not burn the fat off of your midsection.
Keeping your calories in check along with doing your crunches everyday will be the way for you to see that flat, chiseled, sexy stomach. Crunches are easy to do, and if done properly, are very effective for toning those abs. Here is a step by step breakdown of the proper way to get the most out of your crunches.
Lie flat on your back on the floor with your legs bent to about a 90-degree angle with both your rear and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head making sure not to interlock your fingers. You can make your hands into fists so you do not pull up on the back of your neck.
The next thing to do is to pick a spot on the ceiling directly above you. This should be done in order to ensure that you do not bend your neck during the duration of the movement. Do not take your eyes off this spot! The most common mistake while performing a crunch is too much stress on the neck as a result of pulling on it with the hands.
The next step is to stabilize the low back. This can be done by tightening the muscles in the abdomen.
Slowly curl forward and up using your abdominal muscles only. There should be no bending at the waist. Keep your abdominal muscles firm for the entire duration to ensure low back stabilization. Keep your focus on that spot on the ceiling to prevent neck pain as a result of stress. At the top position your shoulder blades should only be between 4-8 inches off the ground. There is no need to go any further. Pause at this top position. This whole movement should be performed slowly and take about 2 seconds to perform. Pause at the top position for 1-2 seconds to ensure full contraction of the abdominal muscles.
Slowly return to the starting position keeping your abs contracted.
That is all there is to it. The crunch is not a very big movement because you are working your abs only. A full sit-up does not work your abs better than the crunch because once you are past the crunch position, your abs are fully contracted and it is your hip muscles that are straining to lift you up, not your abs.
Doing a hundred of these a day is not the key here. Doing two to three sets of 15 to 20 of these at a slow and deliberate pace with good form is what is recommended for maximum benefits and minimum risk of injury.
Jim O’Neill is a certified personal fitness trainer and also holds a sports nutrition certification. He has been helping people successfully achieve their weight loss and fitness goals for over 15 years by staying on the cutting edge of weight loss and fitness technology. To learn more about how you can benefit from his easy to use weight loss and fitness programs go to: [http://www.mrgymfitness.com]