Samara Donald is: The Gym Coach

Make the most of your workout!

C is for Crunches!

I must admit, I had a bit of a hard time selecting the winning “C” word for my alphabet game. I could have chosen cauliflower, couscous, curl, CARDIO! …ok you know I’d never chose cardio Smile.

So, let’s get on to crunches – one of my favorite exercises.Samara_dec09_0240 This said, I often get the question: “will crunches alone slim my abs?” to which the short answer is “no way.”

To really slim down your middle, you do really need the other dreaded C – Cardio. Then, once you have shed most of the body fat from your middle, the crunches and other ab exercises you do will pay off by showing defined abs.

Does this mean you shouldn’t do crunches if you have some fat to burn from your tummy? No! Of course not. Doing crunches and other ab work 2-3 times a week will help strengthen your core – which will help you support everyday activities, as well as create strong ab muscles. Eventually, with a combination of cardio and crunches, you’ll develop that 6-pack you dream of.

How to do a basic “crunch:”

1. Start out by lying on your back and knees bent (this position provides necessary support for your lower back.)

2. Place your hands behind your head with elbows bent open; keep just your fingertips to your head to give some support, but not enough so that you are pulling at all with your hands.

3. Slowly contract (squeeze) your abs and raise yourself up just by squeezing your abs (not by raising your chest or pulling your neck upward). As you crunch and your chest raises, slowly exhale. Then slowly release the contraction in your abs and lower your back down to the flow as you inhale.

4. Repeat for 20 to 25 reps or until your abs are fatigued. Rest 60 seconds, then perform 2-3 more sets of 20-25 crunches resting 60 second between each set.

As you get stronger, you can try new variations such as the bicycle crunch as shown in the photo above.

Here’s to healthy 6 packs!

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This entry was posted on May 13, 2011 by in fitness.
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