The Perfect Crunch: How to Work Your Upper Abs

The perfect crunch is a small, controlled movement that targets your upper abs. If you want to get a defined stomach, you’ll need to work your upper abs, and if you want to get those muscles pumping, you’ll need to master and practice the crunch. A lot of people know the basics of how to do a crunch, but few know how to do the perfect crunch. To do the perfect crunch, just follow these simple tips

To get into the perfect crunch position, lie on your back with your knees slightly raised and bent, and your feet flat on the floor. Your lower back should be resting comfortably on the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head, and as you exhale, tighten your stomach to lift your head, neck, and upper shoulders off the ground. Inhale as you lower down to the ground in a slow and controlled movement. Repeat another four times, then rest for a moment. To make sure you don’t deviate from perfect crunch form, take a break after every set of five to check your alignment on the floor and make sure that your back isn’t arching.

Try to go for another set of five, and then another. Do as many sets as you can, and remember to concentrate and keep breathing. A fitness beginner should be able to complete about three perfect crunch sets, for a total of fifteen crunches. As you continue to work these muscles, you’ll be able to do more and more sets. The stronger your abs become, the easier it will be for you to keep perfect crunch form as you increase the number of crunches you are doing, but don’t try to rush ahead of your body. It is much more efficient to do a few perfect crunches than a lot of mediocre ones, so don’t add additional sets until you can comfortably complete your current routine.

If you push too hard, your body will start to “cheat” in order to complete the required movement despite muscle weakness. This means that you will be tempted to use momentum, or to rely on other muscles to do the work. If you feel tightness or pain in the back of your neck or shoulders while doing a crunch, this is probably what is happening to you. Try scaling back the number of sets you are trying to do, and concentrate on achieving perfect crunch form. To master the perfect crunch, and watch for these common mistakes; neck pain, shoulder tension, an arching back, and elbows that sneak forward with your exertions. If left uncorrected, these problems will sap the efficiency right out of your workout, and may even cause strain and injury.

Luckily, even if you encounter one or all of these problems, it is easy to move past them to the perfect crunch. If your neck or shoulder tense or tighten, stop working for a moment, take a few deep breaths, and relax your neck. Then, imagine that there is an anvil pressing down on your navel. This will help you keep your lower back on the floor, which means that your abs, and not your shoulders, are doing the work. Watch your elbows as they try to creep forward, and fight to keep them pressed back. If you can steer clear of these common slips, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the perfect crunch!

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