This week an email prompted me to write about one of my favorite and most frequently done exercises in my workouts – the CRUNCH! The question asked was concerning when in your workouts do I like to do abs – in the beginning, after cardio, or in the middle? I have found that I do two types of abs that work very well for me as well as many of the people I train - - I REST WITH CRUNCHES and WARMUP WITH CRUNCHES!
Many will say that crunches are in no way a resting exercise, but I disagree. If you think of the position you are in during a crunch – it really is just a little tougher than sleeping! Also, if you do something tough like sprint a 1/2 mile and as your "rest" you catch your breath with a few crunches...It can be used as a recovery exercise. A simple lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor and lie back on the floor and you have completed a crunch.
If you are training for fitness tests with situps or crunches in them, you should consider adding more of these types of exercises to your core workouts. NOTE - Always follow up any ab exercise with a lower back exercise - even it if it a simple plank pose to balance your workout with the front / back side of your torso.
I do the following exercises in between sets of pull-ups or bench press as my rest exercise AND I also get the body warmed up in my early morning workouts with a cycle of the following crunches:
Regular Crunches – 25
Reverse Crunches – 25
Double Crunches – 25
Left Crunches – 25
Right Crunches – 25
Plank pose 1 minute
Stretch and complete one minute of lower back exercises as pictured below and you have warmed up or rest in between big sets of pull-ups, intervals of running, or just about any other exercise you can think of…Give it a try! It works great!
Below are some of the many abdominal exercises taken form every eBook sold on the StewSmith.com Fitness ebook Store. Sample abdominal exercises are the following:
Advanced Crunch - (Legs up) - Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not lift legs if you have previous lower back injury – place feet on the floor - Regular Crunch)
Reverse Crunch - In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt.
(Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)
Double Crunch – Add the regular and reverse crunch together in one motion…You will feel this one twice as fast…Hips and shoulders off the floor.
Right Elbow to Left Knee - Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.
Left Elbow to Right Knee – Same as above just switch sides. Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
*note – Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso.
The Plank pose does this exceptionally, but you can do other back exercises such as these:
Lower Back Exercise - Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for specified number of repetitions. Switch arms/legs and repeat.
See more ideas on core workouts at the Core Circuit / Lower back Plan - FREE Booklet
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