Have you thought of developing a well-toned abdomen? Fantastic. Today’s feature is going to provide you with a well-researched insight on working out your abdominals and other related muscles for a better fitness outlook. The suitcase crunch is a movement of bringing the legs towards your chest by squeezing your abdominals, which should be the main focus.
The main difference between suitcase crunch and V–ups is that you are bending your knees as you bring your legs towards your chest. Suitcase crunches should be a very controlled movement that avoids any sort of swinging motion.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES SUITCASE CRUNCH WORK?
The suitcase crunch is a bodyweight movement that targets the muscles of the abs, the rectus abdominis or ‘six-pack ‘ muscles specifically.
It works all the core muscles including the abdominals and the obliques.
The core is the group of trunk and hip muscles that surround the spine, the abdominal viscera and the hip. Core muscles are essential for proper load balance within the spine, pelvis, and kinetic chain.
They cushion the spine from excessive load and are important for lad transfer between the upper and lower body.
It is important to note that core strength is lower in power but more about subtleties of being able to maintain the body in an ideal posture.
Suitcase crunches also work on the abdominal muscles. There are five main abdominal muscles. These are pyramidal, rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques and trans versus abdominis.
Your abdominal muscles have many important functions which include holding organs in place and supporting your body during movement.
Obliques muscles refer to two abdominal muscles, namely the external and the internal obliques. These muscles provide trunk flexion and rotation.
The external obliques is the thickest and runs from the lower ribs the iliac Crest. The muscles also assist in contracting the abdomen, twisting to the left and right and bending side to side.
BENEFITS OF SUITCASE CRUNCH
Suitcase crunches may sound like simple movements yet they have very vital values. Some of the benefits include;
A strong core means the ability to lift more weight. A strong core also enhances balance. ln others words it can help prevent falls and injuries especially during sports or other activities.
Building a strong and flexible core through suitcase crunches covers almost everything you do in every day movements.
This refers to making a muscle lean by burning intra muscular fat and conditioning the muscles for better performance. This should be the desire of every sports man or woman.
ENDURANCE BUILDING MOVE
Engaging in suitcase crunches help you build endurance in the muscles of the abdomen. Muscular endurance is the ability of the fibres to work against resistance for an extended period of time.
ECONOMY OF SPACE
Suitcase crunch is a move that requires very little space to perform it. Furthermore, it can be done anywhere hence no need for a gym membership.
Suitcase crunches help you improve hip range of motion. If you are struggling to bring your knees close to your chest, this could be inflexible hips causing you a problem and poor range of motion around the hips and lower back pain.
Suitcase crunch requires the back to stabilize and support the movement as you bring your legs in. The hamstrings and quads are also required to bend and straighten the legs during the movement.
In case you are using additional weight, this can obviously create the required resistance for your legs to feel like they have had a work out too.
Your abdominal muscles are a set of strong bands of muscles lining the walls of your abdomen (trunk of your body). They are located toward the front of your ribs and your pelvis.
These are the muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall which can be divided into four groups: the external obliques, the transverse abdominis, and the rectus abdominis.
ALTERNATIVES TO SUITCASE CRUNCHES
To increase the intensity, you can try some of the following alternatives to suitcase crunches:
MEDICINE BALL SUITCASE CRUNCHES
As you hold a medicine ball in your hands, follow the same movement. Doing this creates some additional weight which forces the body’s muscles to work harder.
Putting that additional weight on your upper body helps engage the shoulders, chest, and arms within the movement. Alternatives you can hold the medicine ball between your ankles and knees. This creates additional weight on your lower body. As a result, your core will be required to work harder as your legs squeeze the medicine ball to avoid dropping out, thereby making the muscles work even harder.
DUMBBELL SUITCASE CRUNCHES
Dumbbell suitcase crunches are also another great variation to suitcase crunches. You simply need to hold a dumbbell in your hands as you perform the movement. This engages the shoulders, chest, and arms creating an all-around movement.
While holding the dumbbell, keep your arms straight and avoid bending your arms to ensure the weight hinges at the shoulders.
MISTAKES TO AVOID IN SUITCASE CRUNCHES
Certain common mistakes may hinder you from achieving the best out of this workout. Some of the mistakes are:
PULLING YOUR NECK
This is one common mistake made even by seasoned crunchers. As you lift your upper body off the mat or floor, do not pull your neck alongside. You may be crunching far more than required.
Maintain just a very small space between your chin and your chest, about the size of a tennis ball.
In the course of the movement, avoid letting your body just fall back to the mat during the lowering phase. You have to do it fully in order to reap the full benefit.
Engage your core as you crunch up and keep it engaged as you come back down.
GOING TOO FAST
During suitcase crunch exercise, never breeze through the movement as you build momentum. This can increase your risk of injury or strain while also reducing the effectiveness of the exercise.
It is advisable that you slow down and do every step keenly, bearing in mind that crunches do not need to be big and fast. Instead, you should aim for smaller, slower, and more targeted movements.
Step by step of suitcase crunches:
- Lie on the floor with your legs straight and your arms stretched out behind your head. Think of this position as a suitcase being opened.
- Engage your core by squeezing your abdominals to lift your arms over your head and towards your legs off the arm simultaneously, slightly, and bring them towards your chest, being your knees. Put your torso in a tucked position
- Visualize this position as a suitcase being closed.
- Hold there for a moment, before extending your legs and arms back up to the starting point.