How to Do Alternate Crunches Properly

Alternate crunches have been a staple in the world of physical exercise for a while. This is largely due to its specificity in regards to exercising the abdominals in an isolated manner.

This means that there is only one major area that is exercised – the abdominals. Abs as they are so popularly referred to, is one of the most aesthetically craved aspects of engaging in exercise.

Alternate crunches isolate the abdominals by providing movement and support to the core area.

As such they facilitate an environment where the surrounding areas are not needed to achieve effective results.

HOW TO DO ALTERNATE CRUNCHES

The first principle while doing a crunch is correct body positioning. In order to do this:

  • Lie on your back with your head and spine firmly planted on the ground.
  • Exhale and use this movement to lift your abdominal and oblique muscles off the ground.
  • As you lift your chest towards the sky, bring your left elbow towards your right knee. This will cause your chest to cross over your torso at a diagonal angle.
  • As you inhale your breath, slowly lower your upper body back down to the ground.
  • Do the maneuver again, but this time bring your right elbow towards your left knee and lower back down to the ground.
  • Perform at least ten repetitions on each side before taking a short break. Do two sets of ten repetitions on each side in order to achieve optimal results.

This is a standard variation that you can do if you’re first getting into the exercise. However, there are various ways you can exercise more challenging after mastering the basic variation

One of the things you can do is increase the speed at which you’re performing every movement. This ensures that your muscles work harder but it also leaves you a shorter window for recovery.

Consequently, this exponentially raises the intensity levels of the workout.

WHAT MUSCLES DO ALTERNATE CRUNCHES WORK?

ABDOMINAL MUSCLES

As mentioned above, alternate crunches are a tried and tested exercise. This is in spite of the fact that it is an isolation exercise and as such, can be limiting.

Abdominal muscles exist to specifically train your abdominal muscles, which are part of your core. Unknown to many however the core doesn’t just contain the abs.

Some of the muscles categorized under the core also include your oblique muscles on the sides of your trunk, as well as the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, and hips.

Together, these muscles help stabilize your body.

The weight and strain put on the abdominal muscles when you use them to lift yourself off the ground is what build strength and definition within these muscles.

ALTERNATE CRUNCHES BENEFITS

1.      HELPS YOU TARGET A SPECIFIC AREA

Working out can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. However, it can be a taxing and frustrating undertaking at the same time.

This is because at times the area you’re targeting might not be responding in a positive manner. In such a scenario, the best course of action is always to look towards isolation exercises.

As a result, it allows you to bend a target area to your will. This is because exercises such as alternate crunches get you results

2. IT DOESN’T REQUIRE EQUIPMENT

Aside from the fact that it is very effective, alternate crunches are a very cost-effective exercise. This is due to the fact that no equipment is required to do the exercise.

Alternate crunches are based on heavy use of body weight. As such, you can do it without having to spend anything.

It also means that you can do the exercise anywhere and everywhere

3.      IT IS BEGINNER-FRIENDLY

The basic variation of an alternate crunch is a reasonably low-impact exercise. As long as you maintain proper form it should be a pretty straightforward exercise to grasp.

ALTERNATIVES TO ALTERNATE CRUNCHES

1.      ALTERNATING LEG LOWERS

Leg lowers are a great exercise for achieving balanced strength and coordination through both sides of your body.

They target your lower abdominal region and external obliques, as well as increase your spinal stability.

To do this exercise, lie on your back and start with both legs up, knees bent at 90-degrees. Straighten your right leg and lower it towards the ground, keeping your core engaged.

Finally, bring it back up to starting position and repeat on the left side

2.      DEAD BUG

Dead bug refers to a position-based exercise whereby your arms and legs are stationed above you. For proper form, your legs and arms should be straight and hip-width apart.

Flatten your back against the floor and draw your belly button into your spine. You should then feel tension through your deep core, specifically the lower and outer parts.

Make sure you keep your breathing regularly throughout holding this position! If you need more of a challenge, you can lower your legs slightly – if you are able to keep your back flat on the floor!

3.      DOLPHIN PUSH-UPS

Dolphin push-ups refer to an ab exercise centered around the use of body weight. It begins in a forearm plank and requires that you keep your spine straightened and neck neutral.

It also involves drawing your abs in towards your spine and pushing your hips up towards the ceiling.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING ALTERNATE CRUNCHES

INITIATING MOVEMENTS WITH YOUR HEAD OR NECK

Using your head or neck to make movements while doing the exercise puts you at risk of getting an injury. Instead, you are advised to use your core to raise the upper body.

This is because the neck or head lacks the kind of support that the core has. As such, excessive strain can lead to injuries such as sprains.

AVOID RAPID MOVEMENTS

Alternate crunches require slow methodical movements for efficiency. Rapid movements often take advantage of the resultant momentum which in turn leads to engagement of the wrong muscles

CONCLUSION

The appeal of exercises such as alternate crunchies is rooted in the amount of control they give you.

This piled on to the fact that it is reasonably low impact makes it a perfect exercise if you know what you want and how you want it.