When it comes to our bodies, we all have one place or another that we are somewhat unsatisfied with. How often have you heard people say “my tummy is flabby”, “I hate my thighs” or “my butt is too big”. Some of these things are said in jest, but there is still dissatisfaction hidden in there.
Despite it all though, the one thing that has become almost an obsession today is the way our abs look. It seems that everyone is looking for those ever-elusive “six pack abs”. Much like Ponce De Leon’s search for the fountain of youth, it seems like it is impossible to find.
Nowadays the name for the exercise has taken on a persona of its own. Core Exercises. They are those exercises that engage your stomach muscles which control a large majority of the movements we make.
I’ve been continually told that if you have a strong core, the rest of your movements become easier. I remember as a young footballer I injured my knee and wasn’t able to train for a number of weeks. My coach, Alec Evans said to me, “if all you can do is situp, do it”. His reasoning for that was that with a strong core, time take to get back playing would be reduced. He was right, of course.
Doing core exercises you are actually working on your abs and giving you that flat tummy you’ve been looking for.
Sit Up Crunches
Now, while there is no “magical formula” for attaining a flat, firm, and toned stomach. There is something you can do that if done regularly, will get you the results that you are looking for. To get these results, stomach crunches need to be done daily. Keeping in mind that stomach exercises alone will not burn the fat off of your midsection.
Keeping your calories in check and doing your crunches every day you will soon see that flat, chiselled, sexy stomach. Crunches are easy to do, and if done properly, are very effective for toning those abs. Here is a step by step breakdown of the proper way to get the most out of your crunches.
How to do a Stomach Crunch
Lie flat on your back on the floor. With your legs bent to about a 90-degree angle with both your rear and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head making sure not to interlock your fingers. You can make your hands into fists so you do not pull up on the back of your neck.
The next thing to do is to pick a spot on the ceiling directly above you. This is being done to ensure that you do not bend your neck during the duration of the movement. Do not take your eyes off this spot! The most common mistake while performing a crunch is too much stress on the neck. This is as a result of pulling on it with the hands.
The next step is to stabilize the low back. This can be done by tightening the muscles in the abdomen. Slowly curl forward and up using your abdominal muscles only. There should be no bending at the waist.
Keep your abdominal muscles firm for the entire duration to ensure low back stabilization. Keep your focus on that spot on the ceiling to prevent neck pain as a result of stress.
At the top position your shoulder blades should only be between 4-8 inches off the ground. There is no need to go any further. Pause at this top position. This whole movement should be performed slowly and take about 2 seconds to perform. Pause at the top position for 1-2 seconds to ensure full contraction of the abdominal muscles.
Slowly return to the starting position keeping your abs contracted.
That is all there is to it. The crunch is not a very big movement because you are working your abs only. A full sit-up does not work your abs better than the crunch. Passing the crunch position your abs are fully contracted, your hip muscles work to lift you, not your abs.
Don’t Injure Yourself
Doing a hundred of these a day is not the key here.
It’s recommended that you do sets of crunches slowly and deliberately for maximum results and minimum risk of injury. Eg: Start with 2 sets of 10, depending on where you’re starting from. Once your body becomes stronger you can increase the numbers per set to improve your strength even further.
Using Pull Up Bars for Core Exercises
Pull Up Bars are a great piece of equipment. They assist you in the quest for strengthening and flattening your stomach. Creating those perfect abs or just doing core exercises can be easily done at home without breaking the bank.
By lifting your knees to your chest while hanging from the bar you’re working your core. By applying the same principle used with the crunches you can get the abs you desire.
Building Muscle takes Time
Important! It takes time using core exercises to get those 6 pack abs you desire. Be patient.
Set out your routine to start at a place where you’re not going to over excerpt yourself.
You’ll get great results if you do a little bit each day, use assistance if needed. When starting to using pull-up bars use the assistance of workout bands to aid muscle growth in the early stages.
This approach is perfect for those with a home gym, start with a 15 min session every day. Build up from there.
A really good thing to do is the before and after shot. Take a selfie before you start so you can look back and see your progress.