Crunch Time

Are you looking to flatten that stomach and build up those abs?  Lucky for you, I’ve found an awesome article that highlights 3 great core exercises.  According to, doing thousands of crunches will not bring you the optimal results that you are seeking.  However, following these exercises will lead you to a healthier and more appealing lifestyle.  Let’s first take a look at their 7 reasons why core exercises are good for your personal training routine:

  1. Core exercises improve your balance and stability
  2. Core exercises don’t require specialized bulky equipment
  3. Core exercises can help tone your abs
  4. Stronger core muscles make it easier to do almost all other physical activities
  5. Core exercises can be done at your own pace
  6. Core exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home
  7. Core exercises can help you reach plenty of your other fitness goals

Now let’s take a look at the recommended exercises:

Fitball Crunch

Start – From a seated position on the ball, walk your feet out until the ball is fully supporting your mid to lower back region. Cross your arms over your chest or place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head.

Movement – Contracting the abdominals, raise your upper body about half way up until you feel a full contraction. Slowly return to the starting position.

Key points – Exhale while raising your body. Inhale while returning to the starting position. Be sure to keep your head and neck relaxed.

Caution – The ball should not roll forward and back – it should remain stationary. For added support spread your feet wide the first time you try the exercise.

Reverse Ab Curl (for the lower abdominal region)

Place all your focus on the lower abdominal area contracting. It may be difficult to initially concentrate on the area, but once you master the movement with the correct mental concentration, you’ll really feel the area being worked

Start – Begin on your back on a mat with your back relaxed and your hands on the floor by your hips. Raise your legs into the air and focus on keeping your upper back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise.

Movement – Contracting your abs, raise your butt and gently roll your hips off the floor, stopping when you feel a full contraction of your abdominals and can no longer lift your hips. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Key points – Exhale while lifting your hips. Inhale while returning to the starting position.

Caution – Do not swing your legs.

Bicycle Maneuver

Start – Lie on your back on a mat keeping your lower back in a comfortable position. Place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head and lift your knees up to about a 45 degree angle.

Movement – Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.

Key points – Your legs and shoulders should remain elevated from the floor during this exercise and the lower to the ground that your legs bicycle the harder your abs have to work.

Caution – Do not pull on your head and neck during this exercise. Do not perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back.

Double Crunch

Start – Lie on the floor face up. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45 degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor. Place your finger tips lightly on the sides of your head or have your hands crossed over your chest.

Movement – Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor.

Key points – Exhale while rising up. Inhale while returning to the starting position.

Caution – Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck. Your hands should not be used to lift the head or assist in the movement.

Perform these exercises as a giant set – go from one exercise to the next with no rest in between.  When you finish the Double Crunch, rest for one to two minutes and begin again.  Perform 3 total giant sets for as many reps as possible on each exercise.  Remember to breathe freely and deeply during each exercise.

Credit to Arlene Miller II for these tips.

Happy Crunching!