Fit Tip: Make Your Crunches Count

Fit Tip: Make Your Crunches Count
In case you haven’t noticed, Team LC is in total Bikini Boot Camp mode. This week, Lauren posted her annual Bikini Boot Camp Plan, which we were all pretty excited about. We have also been pinning healthy recipes and workout plans to gear up for beach season. Today, I’m going to take your workout routine a step further by sharing a few tips on how to correct your crunches and work your abs the right way.

If you notice that your lower back hurts and your neck is sore after finishing your regular core routine, you are probably doing something wrong. Check out these 5 steps below for my crash course on how to make your crunches count (and learn how to keep your joints in check too!)…

  1. Steer clear of old-school sit-ups.
    Sit-ups that require you to come all the way up from the floor to your knees can put a strain on your lower back and neck. Make the switch to crunches instead. Crunches should be a smaller movement where you lift your head and shoulders up from the floor about 1/3 of the way, then back down again.
  2. Cross your hands over your chest, not behind your neck.
    Pulling your head up with your hands when you do crunches can really put a strain on your neck. Instead, cross your arms over your chest and focus on pulling up with your abdominal muscles. Your head, neck and abs should be in one straight line—if your neck is coming up first, make the change!
  3. Pull in and press down.
    At the top of your crunch, pull your belly button in towards your spine while you press your lower back down to the floor. Exhale while you do this to steady your breathing. According to FitSugar, these small adjustments will create the right amount of tension in your abdominal wall, making the muscles stronger.
  4. Keep Your Chin Up…
    …Literally! Instead of touching your chin to your chest while you crunch, keep your chin pointed upward to the ceiling. This will isolate your core and create that burn in your lower abdomen. You will also minimize strain on your neck: double bonus.
  5. Inhale and relax.
    When you’re lowering down from your crunch, inhale and relax while you return back to your starting position, without completely relaxing the muscular tension in your abs. According to Livestrong, a set of 10-25 repetitions should be a challenge if you are doing your crunches correctly.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will gain strong abs and minimize your back pains from doing crunches the wrong way. Just remember that doing hundreds of crunches is not the only factor that gets you to a perfect six-pack. In order for your abs to show, you must pair your workout with a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and a lot of water. Check out Lauren’s Bikini Boot Camp Plan for tons of healthy meals and fat-burning fitness routines. Then, make sure you are doing your crunches the correct way and you will be on your way to getting those toned, lean abs.

What is your favorite abs workout?

xx
Allison
Team LC

Photo: Orbit Nutrition
Sources: FitSugar, Livestrong
Categories: Allison Norton, Get Fit
Share This
  • Kelley {Keep Sitting Pretty}

    Great tips! Crunches are great, but sometimes they can be tricky if you’re not doing them right.

    XO Kelley
    http://www.keepsittingpretty.com

  • suzanne

    I trying to get ready for the bikini season too! I’m doing cardio walks and drinking more water :)
    xoxo
    Suzanne from http://www.writtenbysuzanne.com

  • Deanne Castro

    Fantastic tips! I will be trying them out!

    Need more fashion and beauty tips? Check out my blog: http://myfashavenue.com/ Today’s post: hr2 Vaughan Mills Store Launch

    Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/myfashavenue & Instagram @MyFash Avenue

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    Deanne

  • Paulina Mo

    Great tips! The one that feels most effective to me is the plank for over a minute… I’m usually hurting with those lol

    ~Pau
    my fashion blog: http://www.lilbitsofchic.com

  • Kristen Moreno

    perfect way to get in shape for bikini season!

    Hey Guys, check out my Beauty Review Accounts!!

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  • darcyylynn

    My favorite abs workout is the Sunkissed abs routine by Tone It Up! You can find it on Youtube :)

    http://www.corporategirlstyle.blogspot.com

  • erin

    funny how the picture you choose has hands behind neck, but in the suggestion list, you said don’t put it behind the neck :)

  • Islandgurlee

    I was JUST thinking the same thing! :p

  • Rachel Grosset

    Great tips! I always forget to put my chin up!

  • Ashley

    So is the picture supposed to show a few things to not do? :) hehe Posts like this are always helpful! Even if you think you’re doing it right, a refresher is nice. http://dreamliveandrepeat.blogspot.com/

  • NidLid

    These tips are really helpful!

    And I would love it if you guys took a look at my fashion/beauty blog! :)
    http://www.infinitefashion27.blogspot.ca

  • Casey Zack

    I loved these tips! Def going to keep them in mind! Thanks for sharing this! My favorite ab exercises are bicycle crunches, planks and i LOVE Karena and Katrina’s from Tone It Up, TUmmy tuck move!!

  • Casey Zack

    I loved these tips!!! Def will keep these in mind when I do ab exercises next time! My favorite ab exercises are bicycle crunches, planks, and i love karena and katrina’s tummy tuck move from tone it up!!! Thanks for sharing these! Xoxo

  • Ashley Vining

    I just did my morning crunches a few minutes ago and my lower back is still aching! I was doing them all wrong! haha. I am definitely going to give these tips a try with tonight’s evening crunches.

  • Sofia Alleyne

    Great tips!!
    Keep posting stuff like this. Thanks for sharing.!!
    http://discountpleasurecentre.blogspot.com

  • thesassylife thesassylife

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • Theo

    This is so helpful– thanks! Learned a lot of great things. Curious though why the pic is of someone doing a crunch the way we were told not to do it. Arms are behind the neck.

  • kimmarie

    Makes such a difference when you’re doing it right thanks!

  • katliz

    I really needed this! I have been doing them all wrong!

  • Lindsay

    im going to do this, wish me luck<3

  • Kelby Peachey

    Thank you for providing quick, easy tips. I hope they make all the difference when I try it this weekend.

    -Kelby
    http://peachypains.com

  • Kayla Frum

    I feel a new type of burn when keeping these tips in mind!

    Thanks so much!

  • Helen

    I’m actually good at crunches but… I’ve been doing them the wrong way… thank you for this!

  • taschahoffmann

    always had problems with doing crunches. My back hurt every time. This helped me to concentrate on staying in the right position. Thanks for that!

  • meena

    I’m going to try and live by this 6 days a week. As someone who can easily loose inches everywhere else, getting rid of my muffin top is going to be the challange of a lifetime.. I have not been in a bikini in 5 years… I must stay focused for my Costa Rica vacation in January!

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  • Ashley Anne Schjoneman

    Thank you! :)

  • amanda

    I also practice keeping your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth. I think it forces you to keep your chin up.

  • http://www.habitudefitness.com Habitude Fitness

    I love core work that doesn’t feel like core work! Think standing ab moves, yoga/Pilates, and keeping your abs engaged during your workout moves. I have a love/hate relationship with all things plank-but they WORK! If I am shaking a bit-its a good thing! And of course, abs begin in the kitchen!!

  • http://www.thesinglediaries.com/ The Single Diaries

    I think #4 is more important than #2… Putting your hands behind your head doesn’t add strain to your neck if your form is correct in every other aspect!

  • MovementFirst

    Hi Lauren, sorry to be the barer of bad news but there are a lot of new evidence against crunches due to them de-stabilizing the spine. I’ve made an in-depth explantion here: http://movementFirst.co.uk/abs would love for you to watch and give feedback. Cheers, Jacob

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