Unless you let your gym membership expire 15 years ago, chances are you know what a crunch is. But knowing what a crunch is and doing a crunch properly are two different things. A well-executed crunch works the center abs muscles and lower abs muscles in particular; a poorly executed crunch strains the neck and does little for the abs.
Center and lower abs
Lie on a floor mat or on the floor with your feet on the ground approximately hip-width apart, your back flat and your elbows bent with fingers just cupping your head on each side. To avoid straining your neck, do not fully support your head in your hands (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, use a rolling motion to lift the upper body up off the floor until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Be careful to lift with your abdominal muscles and not with your armsyou should feel no pull in your neck (see Photo 2).
- At the top position, you should feel a complete squeeze in your abdominal area. Hold the squeeze, and then reverse the motion and slowly lower yourself down again until your back is once again flat on the floor or mat (see Photo 3).