Stomach crunches where invented in the late 1950’s as the search was more fervently than ever to build the perfect ab trap. Boxers tried to repeatedly take punches and medicine balls in the stomach to increase there ab and mid section strength. But that’s a little too painful and extreme for the average person.
And there have been numerous gadgets, ab crunches equipment and home abs work out machines made available as fool proof belly builders. But it wasn’t until the sit up was re-examined that the next real breakthrough in flat belly builders was burst upon. And they called them stomach crunches.
Stomach Crunches – The Beginning
The situp was a great invention, it was easy and required no apparatus, just a smooth surface to lie on and the will to get up. So it was a great stomach builder. The problem was that the situp didn’t completely isolate the ab effectively. sure it worked them, but it also brought the hip flexors into play and stressed the lower back to greater or lesser degrees. While it got the job done, sometimes, almost inadvertently, it also left many abs-olutely ab-less. And though this can’t be verified, it seems that the Iron Guru himself, Vince Gironda extracted the necessary info from the sit up and developed the stomach crunches sometimes in the 50’s.
Ab crunches are a very close relative to the situp. But it’s when Mr.Gironda recognized that the abdominals are only completely active from the bottom of the movement to a partial way up, that stomach training began to developing into a science. Once you get past the midpoint of the situp, The abs are no longer the primary mover. Sure it doesn’t hurt to have the hip flexors or other muscles provide a helping hand, but it does prevent the isolation of the abdominals, and if you are training the abs, you may as well train them as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The Variations Of The Stomach Crunches.
1. The Abs Crunch – This exercise, also called stomach crunches, can be performed in a variety of ways, but the simplest is the one in which you lie on the floor on your back with knees bent (creating an “A Frame” design between your calf and thigh when viewed from the side) and simply lift your shoulders up off the ground while rounding your back. This is a very small movement but involves the abdominals greatly. You can place your hands behind your head, but be careful not to yank your neck in an attempt to complete more reps. It doesn’t help your abs and it’s the first step on the way to traction. Instead, you can cross your arms in front or rest your hands on your forehead. Sure, you can keep your hands behind your head if you don’t pull, find what is most comfortable for you.
2. The Stomach Crunches with Feet on Bench –The abs crunch can also be performed while lying down and putting your calves over a bench (Creating a 90 degree angle between the calf and thigh). Again, the performance is still the same. You do not attempt to come up to touch your chest to your thighs. You will just crunch up partially while squeezing your ab muscles, then lower yourself without ever releasing the tension on the stomach. Don’t drop from the top and don’t stop reps till you drop. The stomach crunches can also be performed with your legs hooked into a decline bench and on that angle to increase intensity. This is an abs crunch exercise that can be done anywhere from 10 to 50 reps, depending on whether you are an abs-olute beginner or seasoned vet.
3. The Reverse Abs Crunch – This variation of stomach crunches combines the elements of both the abs crunch and the leg raise, But because it involves a bit of momentum without too much resistance, it is perhaps easier than either. Lie Flat on your back with legs in the position for a regular crunch and with your palms face down on your side. Pull your knees up to your chest, then slowly lower to the start position. Again beginners can let their feet touch the floor after each rep, but as your strength and muscular endurance increases try not to touch the ground.
4. The Reverse Crunch on Bench – Performed a little differently than reverse crunches. Lie on a bench and stabilize your body by grabbing the end of the bench above your head. While keeping your back flat on the bench, lift your legs and point them straight up at the ceiling with your knees slightly bent to take pressure off your lower back. Using your lower belly muscles lift your tailbone off the bench by pushing your lower back into the bench and pushing your feet towards the ceiling.
5. The Kneeling Rope Crunch or Cable Crunches – This exercise was the inspiration for the development of the best abs machine. And while the attempt of those abdominal workout machines may have been to improve upon it, it certainly hasn’t been made obsolete. Attach a rope to a top pulley and grab with both hands. While on the knees with forearms against the side of the head or in some close proximity, find a position that is comfortable and slowly round the back and moves the chest towards the knees. You can bend your knees slightly as you contract. But again, this isn’t a big movement. Simply crunch and contract the abs. However, you must pay attention not to let the arms move around. Once you lock your arms into position, they are to remain as stationary as possible. They are simply holding onto the weight to provide resistance and the only movement comes from the torso rounding and moving towards the floor.
6. Bicycle Crunch – This is one of the best overall belly exercises as it places constant tension on the stomach and also works the obliques. Lying on your back with your hands behind your head, bring your knees towards your chest. Start making a bicycle pedaling motion by touching your left elbow with your right knee while straightening your left leg, then your right elbow to your left knee and straighten your right leg.
7. Swiss Ball Crunches – Consider this one to be an advanced stomach crunch. The ball allows you to stretch further back which gives you a wider range of motion. Plus it forces your core muscles to keep you stabilized keeping a constant load on them. However, if you have a poor form you will bring other muscles into play dramatically reducing its efficiency not to mention the increased risk of injury. Lie on a swiss ball at mid back level with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms across your chest. Draw your breastbone forward by squeezing your abs. Try not to assist yourself by lifting your shoulders or neck, let your abdominals do the work.
8. Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches –Again it is important to master the non-weighted swiss ball crunches to avoid injury. Perform this one the same way but holding a single dumbbell across your chest. You can stabilize your feet by placing them under some dumbbells or the end of a bench.
9. The Side Crunch – A lot of people think of this one as strictly an oblique exercise. While it does work the love handles quite effectively it also hits the upper and lower abs. Lie on your right side, rest your right arm along your body to keep your balance. Put your left arm behind your head and curl up using every muscles in your belly. Try to feel everything from below your chest down to below your waist. Maintain a slight contraction at all times.
Stomach crunches will help you develop abdominal muscles but they won’t burn belly fat.
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