Benefits Of Crunches

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Crunches are one of the best exercises to boost your core body strength. They are easy to perform, do not require any expensive equipment, and have diverse benefits for the body. 

In this article… 

We will try to highlight the various advantages of doing crunches, and we would also try to guide you regarding the procedure of doing crunches so that you can maximize its benefits. 

As always, we will attach links for any significant information, surveys, and studies used in this article.

Why Do You Need Crunches?

Among fitness exercises that focus on developing your abs, crunches are arguably unparalleled in terms of how much they can potentially strengthen your abs if you do them right. 

In addition, crunches strengthen your core muscles and improve the posture and balance of your body. If you are Sportsperson, or if you engage in regular work that requires high fitness levels, then crunches are a must for you.

Apart from their various health benefits, crunches are also much-needed as a fitness exercise because they are so convenient to perform. 

You don’t need to enroll in a gym, you don’t need any special equipment, and you can do them at your own convenience, whenever you feel like it. You can even do crunches while you are on vacation. 

Many top-grade Athletes and Sportspeople regularly rely on crunches to maintain their fitness levels. 

For example, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao does 3,000 crunches every single day, and it is considered as one of the integral reasons for him consistently performing at high fitness levels. 

Benefits Of Crunches

Crunches offer a consistent and versatile benefit package: a strengthened body core, a sturdy tummy, improvement in the strength of various body muscles, and boosting your overall fitness for Sports and Athletics.

Easy For Beginners

Although performing crunches can be quite grueling, the techniques for it are simple enough for you to do at home without any expert help. 

So if you are a beginner, all you need is just an open space at home, and you can embark on this quintessential exercise. 

Since you are working out on your own, you don’t need to follow any rigid fitness protocol; you can do crunches wherever you want, whenever you want, as many as you want. 

Crunches are one of the best exercises for beginners and the most cost-effective.

I’ve mentioned how a top-level athlete like Manny Pacquaio is doing 3,000 crunches a day, this, of course, can be hard to do for the average Joe but what about 100 crunches per day?

Doing around 100 a day may yield benefits such as sculpting your core muscles without consuming a lot of time. And this is the number of crunches recommended for beginners.

Great For Core And Abs

Crunches activate one of the most significant tissue clusters of your body—the rectus abdominis – popularly referred to as the six-pack. While they mainly focus on the abdomen, they also fix irregularities in the region of the neck and shoulders. 

Crunches boost the strength of the entire upper body and also keep the hip muscles fit and functioning.

Doing crunches daily will help you develop a supremely fit upper body core and also stabilize your spinal structure by activating the spinal muscles. Crunches prevent muscle pains and also limit the risk of frequent injuries.

Burning Calories

If losing excess body weight is one of the reasons you started workouts, then crunches would benefit you immensely. Even doing just a few crunches burn enormous amounts of calories. 

A study found that if a person weighing about 160 pounds did crunches at a moderate level for 10 minutes, they would burn about 54 calories. If the person increases the intensity of the crunches, then it is possible to burn 98 calories in 10 minutes. 

Other Health Benefits

Apart from working the abdominal muscles, crunches also offer a lot of pressure on the gastrointestinal system, which massively improves gut health. 

For people who suffer from constipation, crunches help in smooth bowel movements. They also cause better digestion of food, boost immunity and metabolism, and lead to the more effective elimination of body waste.

How To Do Crunches Properly?

While crunches are actually one of the most popular workout exercises, there are a lot of people who do it quite wrongly. This not only cancels the health benefits of crunches; it also leaves the person susceptible to injury. 

For your perusal, we would include a step-by-step guide for how to perform crunches properly. Please remember that if you suffer from frequent muscle pains or have recently suffered an injury, you should not do crunches before consulting a doctor.

Step-By-Step Guide For Doing Crunches

Here is a step-by-step instruction manual for doing a basic low-intensity crunch. You can verify whether you are doing it correctly from the fact that if properly performed, crunches do not exert much strain on your neck, shoulders, and back.

  • First, locate an extended empty space in your house. You can do it on the floor itself, or you can place a mat and do crunches on top of it.
  • Then lie on the ground with your hand beneath your head and your elbows extended to the sides. Place your body in such a way that your lower back is mildly pushing the floor. 
  • Once you have established your starting position, lift your upper body while exhaling and keeping your abdomen contracted. The lift should not be more than a few inches, and you must remember not to strain your neck or your shoulders; otherwise, you might injure them.
  • Next, inhale slowly and lower your upper body back to the starting position on the floor. 
  • Once you have reached the starting position again, you have successfully completed one abdominal crunch. You can now continue repeating this for as long as you wish to, but it is best to consult an expert beforehand and set a fixed set of targets that your body could manage.

abdominal crunch

Variations In Crunches

Once you get comfortable doing crunches, there are many variations that you can include in your routine. 

A few examples are the bicycle crunch, the full-body crunch, the vertical leg crunch, the long arm crunch, and the reverse crunch. 

Not all of them can be performed safely at home; especially the vertical leg crunch requires trainers to check if you are doing it properly. But others, like the long arm crunch, are simple enough for you to perform at home even if you are a beginner.

Some Common Mistakes People Make While Doing Crunches

As mentioned above, people make a lot of basic mistakes while doing crunches which limits their effectiveness. Since crunches are mostly done at home, there is no fitness trainer who can correct you if you are doing it wrong, you will continue to do it incorrectly. Hence, we have compiled a list of the most common mistakes incurred while doing crunches and how you can avoid them.

Breathing Irregularities

A lot of people tend to hold their breath while doing crunches. This prevents oxygen from reaching their abdominal muscles and would later lead to muscle cramps and possible lung damage. 

The protocol for breathing during crunches is simple enough: exhale while your body is going up, and inhale when your body is going back to the starting position. 

Following this is very important, as according to fitness trainer Steve Zim, breathing is the most important ingredient for developing superior abdominal muscles through workouts. 

Straining Your Neck

If you are a beginner doing crunches for the first time, a common problem you might experience is that your body is not lifting as much as required. 

The immediate reflex might be to pull your neck and try to make your body go higher. But this is an extremely dangerous strategy as it can lead to neck strains and potential injuries. 

You would also be unable to exert the requisite pressure on your abdominal muscles, which is essential if you are looking for toned abs. Hence, while you are doing crunches, try to use your chest to lift your body instead of pressurizing your neck.

Doing Too Many Crunches Improperly

It’s not about how many crunches you can achieve; it’s about how well you are executing each of them. Doing ten crunches properly will get you more benefits than doing a hundred badly executed, hurried crunches. 

One of the fundamental things about crunches is that you must not hassle, must not get carried away, and do things rapidly.

Equally important is to take adequate breaks between crunches. After doing a few crunches well, you might want to keep pushing your body, but the truth is that your muscles would get tired and not perform at the highest level. 

It’s better to rest and recharge your body and then embark on crunches once again. 

Final Thoughts

While crunches are one of the best workout exercises around, it’s important to remember that they are not a magic solution to getting great abs. 

Just doing crunches every day isn’t enough; you have to combine that with a healthy and nutritious diet, proper sleep schedules, and consultation with fitness experts, to see tangible results.

It might also be a while before you see your work on crunches being translated into flaunting toned abs. But what is absolutely certain is that if you keep doing crunches regularly for a sustained period, you would see remarkable improvements in your body fitness, which, after all, is the purpose of a workout routine. 

Last Updated on June 22, 2021

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