When I first start working with a client, they often say one of a few things – “I hate doing sit ups,” “My back hurts when I do abs,” & “How many sit ups before I start to see a six pack?” We will address the last one in a later post & If your back hurts while doing anything ab related, you are most definitely NOT using your ab. So today we will focus on the simple crunch often mistaken for the sit up.
As with all core exercises, be sure to draw your navel to the floor and continue to engage even while inhaling (on the release) and exhaling (on the crunch). Make the movement subtle, you don’t need to lift your entire torso off the ground for a crunch. Another common issue is neck pain during a crunch. If this is the case, you are probably engaging your neck muscles instead of your core. I have clients put their hands behind their heads and open their elbows wide to support their neck, and ensure their neck is aligned with their spine. Thinking “up” not “forward” can also help take the strain off your neck.
Once this is comfortable, reach your hands to the sky to progress the exercise. It seems simple, but a not so fancy crunch is one of the best ways to really feel your abs work.