Even if you are not a dedicated gym goer, you have likely done crunches at some point in your life. In this video, I’m going to show you how to never to crunches and the 10 most common mistakes made when performing this popular ab exercise. It’s said, once you know what you are not supposed to do you can learn what you should do a lot easier.
We start off this list of ab workout mistakes with a mindset, a faulty one at that. There is a belief that doing crunches is bad for your back. While I deeply respect the researchers that have dedicated their life to this topic I simply don’t agree with all of the studies that have been intended to validate this claim. Many times, the subjects are not human beings and often times, the extreme cycling of repetitions is applied in an accelerated manner that does not simulate real life applications of crunches or ab workouts. Your spine can regenerate and recover provided it has bouts of relief and decompression. This is not often times occurring in a lab controlled environment.
That is not to say that crunches can’t cause low back pain. They absolutely can. This has to do often times with ab workout mistake number two and that is hooking your feet under something when performing your crunches. This will cause over activation of the hip flexors and can lead to low back tightness and spasm. The key to fixing this however is to hook your feet either over something or not at all.
Pulling on the neck can also cause pains from crunching. If you want to do this properly, gently place your hands behind your head but do not interlace your fingers. From here, keep looking up to the ceiling rather than forward or down towards your toes. Where you gaze is where you body goes so focus up and your crunches and abs will be better off for it.
The fourth big crunch mistake is worrying about how high you lift off the ground every rep. Some will even think that they have to do full sit-ups in order to get benefits for their ab muscles. This isn’t true. In fact, just clearing the shoulder blade off the mat when doing crunches is enough to get full activation of the abs.
Breathing is also a big area of contention for those that do crunches improperly. You want to learn how to breathe out while not distending the abdomen during a well executed crunch. With the contraction of the transverse abdominis you will be able to cinch the belly down while exhaling, which will engage the abs but not lead to a protruding belly in the long run.
When it comes to the reps you perform in your ab workouts and ab exercises, stop counting them. Instead, make every one count. The way to do this is to once again focus on initiating every lift of the torso with the contraction of the abs. Eliminate momentum and lift only with the work of the rectus abdominis. Pumping away with mini reps is not going to win you any awards and certainly isn’t going to get you six pack abs any faster.
The next big mistake is always doing your crunches on your back. Lumbar flexion can be achieved from many other positions. Make sure to include some of the closed chain options that you see in the video to not only mix up your training but to get better abs in the long run.
That said, certain exercises (even when done out of a different position) can still be misperformed. The crunch pulldown is one example. Instead of sitting your butt back onto your heels on every rep, make sure to keep your butt in the same position that you start. Crunch only by flexing the spine and getting your elbows down to the floor.
Side crunches are another variation that you want to make sure you don’t miss. One of the biggest ab workout mistakes is not doing them. They are great for isolating the obliques and getting a solid contraction of these important waist tapering muscles.
Finally, only doing crunches in your ab workouts is not the answer either. Be sure to train the other functions of the ab muscles. Anti-rotation, Anti-flexion, Anti-lateral movements are all things that are the responsibility of the core muscles. Be sure to include them in a complete ab workout.
If you want a day by day ab workout generator that will give you more than just crunches, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below. Start training like an athlete and build a ripped, athletic body in just the next 90 days.
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