A strength training exercise for the abdominal muscles
- Lie on the ground with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Place the fingertips on the back or sides of the head with the elbows pointing outward.
- Take a deep breath and, while exhaling, contract the abs and raise the chest and head until the shoulder blades are 1-2 inches off the floor.
- At the same time, pull the belly button towards the spine and flatten the lower back against the floor, squeezing the abs tightly.
- While inhaling, lower the shoulders back down until they are just above the ground.
- Keep the neck long and raise the chin to avoid straining the neck. There should be enough space to fit a small orange between the chin and the chest.
- Relax the neck by using the hands to support the weight of the head.
- Keep the elbows pointing outward from the ears and never pull the head up with the hands or interlock the fingers behind the head.
- Breathe deeply and rhythmically throughout the exercise, exhaling when going up and inhaling when coming down.
- Lift both the chest and the head to achieve more of a lift than a curl.
- Keep the lower back touching ground.
- Move slowly and with control in order to engage the abdominals throughout.
Duration / Reps:
- Beginners: 1-3 sets of 10-15 crunches
- Experienced Athletes: 3-5 sets of 20-25 crunches
- Before or after the main workout
- Or as a station in circuit training (as the main workout early in the season)
You Need: A mat or other soft surface
- Strengthens the abs, which are essential for stabilizing the upper body and maintaining an upright posture, which in turn enables runners to breathe efficiently and avoid energy-wasting movements of the upper body
- Abdominal strength can also prevent injuries caused when muscles in the hips and lower back have to compensate for weak abs