Chiseled abs are one of the most desired results of following a strict regime of intense exercises and restrictive diet. But fitness crunches are the most effective exercises that can help you achieve your dream figure and perfectly flat abs. Crunches are the ideal exercise for toning, defining and strengthening the core muscles – more specifically the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Crunches also work the obliques and helps in improving balance and posture. In this article, we have mentioned the 10 most effective crunch exercises for a ripped abdomen.
Benefits of a Strong Core
A strong core is the basis of physical strength that not only increases flexibility, but also reduces the risk of injuries. Some the basic benefits of core workouts are as follows:
- Enhanced Sports Performance – Intense sports such as tennis, football, soccer and baseball require powerful limbs that can exert force. And this force can be generated only we a person and a powerful and stabilized core. A strong core also enhances performance while running, jumping and other activities that require quick reaction.
- Improves Posture – Prolonged sitting in front of the computer and television damages our posture. Core training exercises helps in correcting the posture by strengthening the abdominal wall and lower back and opening up the hip flexors.
- A Lean Waistline – Core strength exercises helps in toning the waistline so that you can achieve perfectly flat abs and develop the ripped six pack abs.
- Prevent back Pain – Core muscles exercises increases mobility and strengthens the hips, glutes, thighs and the back which helps in relieving back pain and aches.
- Treat Breathing Problems – Core training exercises helps in better breathing by developing the breathing muscles such as the diaphragm and intercostals.
10 Intense Fitness Crunches for an Iron Core
A strong core is the basis of all other exercises. It helps in enhancing athletic performance and daily activities. And the best thing is core training does not require any equipment.
Weighted Stability Ball Crunch
There are various benefits of incorporating a stability ball in core strength exercises such as crunches because working on a stability ball boost the activation and flexing of the abdominal muscles by almost 38% compared to crunches done without a stability ball. The Weighted stability Ball Crunches enhances the activity of the upper abdomen, lower abdomen and obliques. In addition, this exercise also engages the smaller core muscles that are usually neglected by traditional core strengthening workouts. Position your back on a stability ball such that your lower back is pressed against the surface of the ball and your feet are bend at the knee and placed firmly on the floor. Now, hold two dumbbells in the hands that are crossed on the top of your chest and lower your torso to a stretching position keeping the neck fixed. Now, contract your abdomen and bring your torso upwards by curling your shoulders and trunk. Stay in this contracted position for a few moments and return to the stretched position while inhaling.
Slow Sit Ups
Slow Sit Ups are the best exercises to strengthen core muscles in an effective manner. Slow sit ups require a lot of controlled movement and the lack of momentum makes the exercise even more difficult. This emphasis is required to build endurance and stronger abs. Lie down on a mat with your knees bend and feet placed flat on the floor. Place your hands under our head and slowly raise your torso off the floor while contracting your core muscles. Take 5 to 6 seconds to come up entirely, wait for a few moments and then again take 5 or 6 seconds to lower your torso down to the starting position. You can also add some resistance to this exercise by holding some weight in your hands.
The Windshield Wiper is the perfect strong core workout that helps in increasing core strength and stability and also aids in developing a strong upper back. This exercise works the obliques and rectus abdominus muscle and promotes muscle activation of the gluteal muscles which in turn helps in stabilizing the hips. Lie down on the mat with your arms stretched on the sides and legs raised up perpendicular from the floor. Keep your legs joined and slowly lower them to the right side till they are just two inches above the floor. Raise the legs back to the center and again lower them to the left side and return to the center.
The Bicycle Crunch is one of the most effective core exercises for men and women that target the main abdominal muscles. It is an intense abdominal exercise that works the upper, middle and lower abdominal muscles along with the hamstrings and quads. Lie down on the floor with your hands placed below the head and your neck supported by your fingers. Tuck in your abs and push your back against the floor while lifting your knees towards your chest and raising your shoulder blades off the floor. Twist towards the right to bring your right knee and left elbow together, return to the middle, twist towards the left to bring your left knee and right elbow together. The movement should be smooth and swift, as if you are pedaling a bicycle.
Hanging Leg Raise
The Hanging Leg Raise is one of the complicated core body exercises that require a lot of training and strength to perform correctly. This exercise works the major muscles of the abdomen – rectus abdominus and external obliques along with the auxiliary muscles such as iliopsoas and pectineus muscles. Grab a chin-up bar with both hands such that the hands are placed shoulder width apart, legs straight and the pelvis pushed slightly backward. Now, raise your legs up to your torso so that it forms a 90-degree angle with the legs. Hold the contraction for a few seconds and lower your legs to the starting position.
V-Sit Ups is yet another effective fitness crunches exercise to achieve a stronger core. It is an intermediate level abdominal workout that requires balancing the torso and legs in the air. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis which is the flat muscle present on the top of the abdomen. It is important to work this muscle in order to develop a flat stomach. In addition, it also activates the deep-seated transversus abdominis muscle. Lie down on the mat with your lower back pushes hard on the floor, abs engaged and shoulder blades pushed back. Keep your arms extended overhead. Now, lift your arms and legs off the floor as high as you can at the same time and try to touch your toes with your fingers. Wait for a few moments and return back to the starting position.
Vertical Leg Crunch
The Vertical Leg Crunch is the ideal exercise to build iron core fitness. This exercise strengthens all the muscles of the upper and lower abdomen. It tones the abdomen and increases the muscle density of the abdominal muscles and also boosts metabolism. The activated core muscles support the spine, which in turn improves balance and posture. Lie down on the mat with your hands placed under your head and ankles crossed. Now, lift your legs up in this joined position by keeping your abdomen tight and raise the shoulder blades off the floor. Lower your head down to the floor. Repeat the upward movement with your shoulders.
Long Arm Crunch
The Long Arm Crunch is one of the most effective core muscles exercises that work better that traditional floor crunches. This exercise not only tones the abdominal muscles, but also strengthens the back. The extended arms add extra lever to the move and increases the level of difficulty to make it more challenging. This exercise also works the upper portion of the abs. Lie down on the floor with your arms joined and stretched above your head. Now, curl you back to raise your upper body while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Wait for a few moments in the raised stance and then slowly get back to the initial position. Make sure that your arms are straight at all times.
Reverse crunches are one of the best exercises for core that tones and tightens the lower abs. But unlike basic crunch, it does not put much pressure on the neck and back. This exercise concentrates on the lower abdominal muscles and helps in developing a flatter stomach. Lie down on the floor with your hands resting at your sides, palms facing down and your knees bend slightly. Now, lift your head and hips off the floor at the same time by raising your legs upward while keeping your core muscles engaged. Pause for a few moments with your legs pointing up and then lower your legs to the starting position.
The Crunch Twist is one of the complete exercises for core strength that works the major muscles of the abdomen including the rectus abdominus, transversus abdominus, internal obliques and external obliques. It is the perfect exercise to achieve a leaner and muscular abdomen. Lie down on the floor with your knees bend and your feet placed flat on the floor. Keep your hands under your head and come up for a crunch. Try to bring your elbow close to your opposite knee while doing the crunch and slowly get back to the starting position. Do right and left twists alternately.
Get attractive washboard abs this summer with these power-packed fitness crunches and flaunt your six packs to the world.