There are more reasons to ensure you do your crunches correctly than the fact that you won’t get killer abs if you do them wrong. Fitness experts warn that incorrect crunches can lead to backaches, muscle cramps and more. Fortunately, the ab-tightening, core- and back-strengthening exercise is pretty easy to do. To learn whether you’re performing pointless or even dangerous crunches, determine whether you’re not doing any of the following erroneous moves, and if so, correct them.
1. You do good old-fashion sit-ups.
Old-school sit-ups strain the lower back and neck, which is not good for them nor helpful to your abs. Crunches focus on the ab muscles, which is what you want to do. Isolate the abs and work from there.
2. You clasp your head or neck when you “crunch.”
The point is to isolate and work your abs, not pull yourself up with the help of your noggin. Make sure your hands are crossed in front of your chest to hone in on working your core. You can also put your fingertips next to your ears. But if you do, make sure your elbows are pointed out toward your sides and your fingers are barely touching your head. Do not lace them behind your head.
3. You touch your chin to your chest as you crunch.
Ouch! Putting your chin to your chest during crunches is a recipe for neck strain. Instead, make sure there’s at least a fist’s worth of separation between your body and your chin, find a focal point on the ceiling directly above you, and focus on that as you gently lift your head and shoulders off the ground. This focal point helps you avoid straining your neck!
5. You are pushing your stomach muscles out while you crunch.
Actually, you want to do the reverse; pull your belly button in toward the base of your spine during crunches to isolate and work the correct muscles.
5. You’re expecting crunches to eliminate your belly fat.
If you’re expecting crunches to melt away belly fat and have some to spare, it’s no surprise that you think your efforts are in vain. Crunches strengthen your abdominals, which may, in turn, make your abs a bit bigger! They do not get rid of fat. That means that if you add muscle without reducing fat, your tummy area could even look a little more portly. To show off those mean abs you’re building, you will need to add cardio and watch what you eat! Melt away that outer layer while you continue to work your abs and soon enough you’ll unveil your well-deserved stomach muscles.