The abdominal crunch is one of the best abdominal exercises and a great way to strengthen this area. But most people do not do this abs exercise correctly, so see our abdominal crunch guide below.
The best starting position for the abdominal crunch is on your back, both feet off the floor, legs forming a right angle, shoulders just off the floor.
Exhale, then simultaneously bring your knees in towards your chest, while lifting your upper body to an angle of around 30 degrees.
When your elbows touch your legs, pause for a second, then slowly return to the starting position. Pause again, then repeat. Be sure to keep the contraction in your abs the whole time. If you allow your shoulder blades to go all the way back to the floor, then the contraction in your abs will be reduced, making the exercise easier. For beginners this is OK, for those that are more advanced, try and focus on feeling your abdominal muscles working throughout the movement.
Keep your chin up off your chest, and if necessary gently support your head by placing your hands at the side of the head.
You can also perform this exercise with your arms straight along your body, which is a little easier, or with your hands crossed on your chest, which is harder.
As with all abs exercises, the movement should be smooth, with the focus on using your abdominal muscles to lift and lower yourself.
Beginners should aim for two sets of 8 - 12 reps; Intermediates two sets of 15 - 20 reps; Advanced should do three sets of 20+ reps. Rest for 20 seconds between sets.
For a challenging workout, why not try one of our sample ABS WORKOUT