Crunches may very well be the oldest toning exercise, ever. While they have proven to show results, they can be very time-consuming and ineffective if they aren't executed properly. Here are three simple tips to feel the burn longer and finish your ab work sooner. These tips may even change your plank!
- Exhale: During ab work, your breath helps you contract your abdominals toward your spine. If you don't pay attention, then your breath can work your abs incorrectly, bringing them inward instead of out. The next time you're sitting on the couch, watch what direction your stomach moves while you breathe. It should expand on the inhale and shrink with the exhale. Just exaggerate this natural movement during ab work for more effective results.
- Elongate your neck: One of the biggest mistakes while doing crunches is cranking your neck forward. Not only will it give you a sore neck, but it will also take the work out of your abs. Drop your chin toward your chest to access your deep neck flexors; do this by imagining you are holding an orange between your chin and chest. You can also find the position using your own fist as the orange.
- Shift your hips: Whether you're in plank or a crunch position, remember to shift your hips so they are evenly aligned with your ribs — this keeps you from overarching your low back. Another way get rid of the arch: close your rib cage; think of the low ribs sliding toward your hips.