The abdomen of any person can be divided into three parts for the purpose of crunches and making abs. The Abs are categorized as Upper Abs, Lower Abs and Oblique. Crunching exercises helps in formation of the Abs as it strengthen the muscles of the abdomen.
To tone the Upper abs of the abdomen everyone should start from basic level of crunches before taking up harder or intense forms of crunches.
The starting position for this exercise should be lying on your back while your knees are bent and your feet are resting on the floor and no part is hanging in the air. Keep your upper body relaxed and hands should be cupped at the back of your head.
To tone your Upper Abs, contract the upper part of your abdomen i.e. your upper abs. As your abs start to curl up your chest bone should be aimed at the bellybutton so that the body is straight or else you might injure yourself in the process.
Once you reach the mid between the floor and the knees, Relax your torso and start to come back to initial position slowly and steadily. Repeat the same, Do these crunches in small sets with a break of 45 seconds in consecutive sets.
This method of abs crunching is not the exercise which will be leading in creation of the Abs rather this exercise will help in toning your abs and the rest of the body so that you can undertake more intense techniques for abs crunching.
While doing this exercise bring one of your hands from the back of your and place in on your abdomen to actually feel the muscles being contracted and relaxed.
By placing your hands just below the rib cage will help in focusing the muscle contraction as it helps the brain to focus more. Exercise for abs crunching should be done with ultra care and caution.
While doing this exercise make sure that your lower back stays on the floor for the entire time of the crunch and you do not actually end up doing a sit up as that kind of exercise focus more on the hip flexor than the abdomen.
Make sure that you don’t start to bounce your body of the floor to do it quickly. Your head should be very still and the chin should be touching the chest at all times, try to focus your eyes on the navel so that head keeps still.
A common perception that there is not much difference between a sit-up and abs crunches is absolutely wrong, Sit up are not exercise for the abs and are advised against it for the purpose. It is the main reason for high rate of lower back injuries when toning abs.
The limited area of motion of the abs crunches is one of the short coming of the exercise. Greater motion can be achieved when advanced type of techniques are used.
To move to more advanced techniques your have to shift from flat surfaces to inclined surface for resting your back. A decline crunch technique should be used in which the surface inclining from the head to the legs.
To tone your lower abs you should start with basic technique of reverse crunching.First, you should lie on your back as the same way you would while doing an abs crunch, Bend your knees and keep them in the air at about six inches from the floor. Keep your hands behind your head, as when doing an abs crunch.
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Keep your feet close to your hips and contract your lower abs by slowly bringing your knees towards your chest and lifting your bum from the ground. Make sure that you hinge from any point just above the pelvis and not at your hips or else it would not have the requisite effect.
Once your body is curled like a ball start to relax your muscles by bringing your feet to the initial position. Perform this in small sets with a break of approximate 45 seconds in between consecutive sets.
While doing this exercise make sure that you breathe our when you start to curl your legs into your chest and you breathe in as you bring your legs to the initial position. The same technique should be one on an inclined floor to increase the intensity. The incline should be from the head to the legs.
Other techniques for more intense lower abs crunching are hanging leg lift and Swiss ball leg lift.This technique sounds very easy to do but in reality it is not.
When the lower abs is isolated properly, which itself is a very difficult task, but once they are isolated they fatigue quickly. You can feel the pain in the lower abdomen faster than you would while doing upper abs.
Oblique are the muscles present on the sides of the torso. These muscles are relatively more difficult to tone than the lower and upper abs. To start for toning of these muscles lay on your back and keep your knees bent just as you do when doing a standard crunch.
Put both your feet firmly on the ground with your left hand at the side of your head and the right hand on the left side of the midsection. Consider both of your legs as one unit and let them fall to the right hand side. The head and chest should be facing the ceiling all the time.
Start contracting your muscles by crunching your chest toward the hip that is facing upward, after completing one set do the other set by keeping your knees and torso to the other side.
Remember to breathe out as you start to crunch your chest into the hip and breathe in when your return to your initial position. Make sure while doing this exercise that you face the ceiling and not in the direction of your knees.
This exercise and technique is very solid though a basic oblique exercise but this requires focused intensity. To increase the intensity of the exercise you can try this exercise on the Swiss ball or the roman chair.
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