Working out can be a real pain, both literally and figuratively. This is doubly true if you’re new to working out, or haven’t done any exercising in a long time. It makes sense to start off with something simple, like sit-ups or crunches. You try to do a couple sit-ups first to get your blood pumping, but you’re gasping by the time you get done with 10. Don’t give up hope just yet! You can still try to do a couple crunches, but you’re a little weary now. Why should you even start if you can only do a couple? Well, if you find a few ways to do crunches easily and effectively, you’ll be doing a lot in no time!
A Basic Crunch (Lie down)
Alright, the first step to doing crunches is to lie down. Make sure that you’re not jammed into a tight little spot on the floor where you can barely move around. Find a relatively open space and lie down there. If you want to be really professional about it, get a exercise mat from the store. The unique surface of the mat will help you to stay in place while you do the crunches. This may seem like a worthless purchase because you assume that you won’t move around too much, but it’ll happen. You’d be surprised at how far you move after you’ve done some exercising.
A Basic Crunch (Bend your knees)
So, now that you’re on the ground, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Bend your knees in front of you while keeping your feet on the floor. At this point, you should still be pretty comfortable. If you’re not, then you’re probably doing something wrong and should repeat step one again. To prolong the crunches for another extra moment, move your legs around a little to get the blood flowing. Who knows, it may actually help. Before moving on to the next part, glance briefly at your feet to make sure that they’re both straight.
A Basic Crunch (Cross arms in front of chest)
On the ground, with your knees prepared and feet in the proper position, you’re now ready for the final step before actually beginning your first set of crunches. Lift your arms up slowly and gently place them on your opposite shoulders. If you’re having trouble picturing this, think of giving yourself a big hug, but the hug’s a little too high so it doesn’t go past your shoulders. Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down and squeeze your shoulders to confirm that you have a good grip on them. Ok, here you go.
Contract Abdominal muscles while moving up
You are now ready to do some crunches and, following the steps you found online, you contract your abdominal muscles and exhale while moving up. Remember: this is a crunch, not a sit-up, so you won’t be moving up all the way to your bent knees. What is your abdominal muscle, you ask? Don’t worry about it, just tighten your stomach as if you were getting ready for a punch. By doing this, you have taken care of that muscle which may or may not be the correct one. While these thoughts are going through your head, don’t forget to exhale. That’s a very important step.
Maintain back and neck alignment while moving down
Great job! You’ve made it up to around halfway to your knees. What do you do now? Simply go back down to the ground. Wait! Not like that! You need to inhale while keeping your back and neck aligned. If you don’t do this very necessary step, you’ll have gained almost nothing from your crunches. It can be hard to maintain this alignment, though. In fact, one of the most common things to do that newcomers will do is to clench their body in an effort to keep everything straight. This is a mistake! Learn to relax your body while having your back and neck remain pretty well aligned.
Safety Tip: Move slow
Moving on to safety tips to remember while practicing your crunches, you’ll need to remember the most important tip: move slow! This is not a race to see how fast you can get done with your daily exercise. Don’t be the hare; be the tortoise. As the saying goes, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ Besides, rabbits are lame. Turtles are super cool. Now, are crunches going to be a little harder when you take your time? Yes, but they’ll make you stronger a whole lot faster than doing double the amount in less than a minute. If you think you can only do 5 or so of these slow crunches at a time, that’s fine. Don’t rush yourself.
Safety Tip: Don’t place hands behind head
You know how back when you were in school the really athletic kids, when the did sit-ups and crunches, usually put their hands behind their heads? Yeah, they were doing it wrong and have some sort of medical problem now because of it. When you put your hands behind your head instead of crossing them over your chest, you risk injuring your neck. If you only do a couple crunches or whatever per day, you may not notice any negative changes for a while, but you most certainly will if you do 20 or so per day. Where’s the sense in risk having an injury that you’ll end up regretting later on in life?
Safety Tip: If you feel hurt or dizzy, take a break
This is a very important safety tip that you should always remember. If you ever feel like achy or dizzy, immediately stop and take a break for a little bit. Don’t listen to your friends who tell you to push past the pain, or that pain means that you’re getting stronger. They have no idea what they’re talking about. Listen to the advice in this online article written by a completely trustworthy source. Seriously, though, don’t be afraid to take frequent breaks if you think you need them. You’ll get strong eventually, never fear.
Are you ready to start doing some crunches? Was the advice in this article helpful? Let me know in the comments below!
A new face on the writing scene, Josh VanAkker brings a breath of fresh air to the world of blogging. He enjoys working with new styles of writing, and has employed a good number of them in his many blog posts.