Leg crunches are abdominal exercises that effectively build stronger cores. They are the most effective body-weight crunch workouts. The exercise is a total body workout that stimulates muscle growth, defines muscles, and helps to sculpt a perfectly fit body.
The core muscles are some of the most important groups of muscles that contribute to the physical well-being of the body. Therefore, it is important to train your core muscles to enhance your fitness.
Leg crunches, other than building muscle strength in the core, the exercise improves the stability of the spine and hips. Moreover, the total tension generated overtime on the core, stimulates the activation of more muscle fibers in your abs.
Leg crunches can serve as a great warm-up or as the main workout.
Here’s how to do it:
- Step 1: Get in an open space, and place an exercise on the floor to act as a cushion. Lie flat on your back and bring your legs up perpendicular to your upper body assuming the L-position.
- Step 2: Flex your abs and ground your lower back into the floor and then slowly raise your arm directly upwards parallel to your legs.
- Step 3: Squeeze your core, contract your abdominals and raise your upper body straight up by flexing your core. Ensure your lower back remains grounded on the floor. This is your starting position.
- Step 4: Lift your upper back and stretch out your hands in an attempt to reach for your toes. Maintain that stretch position for as much time as you can then slowly get back to your starting position. Repeat the move for the rest of the reps. You can go for 7-10 reps per set but you can still adjust as your form permits.
WHAT MUSCLE GROUPS DOES LEG CRUNCHES WORK?
The exercise targets the following muscle groups.
The core muscles have many functions among which they help to stabilize the body so that you are balanced even in motion.
Physique intensive activities greatly amplify the importance and benefits of a stronger core
The abdominal muscle group includes the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, pyramidal, and the external and internal obliques.
When you stretch your hands out and raise your torso, the tension created activates abdominal muscles, especially the rectus abdominis better known as the ‘six pack’.
The adductors are located in the inner thigh. They include the longus, brevis, and magnus.
The tension created when your legs are raised up gets the adductor muscles activated.
The adductor muscles have many functions such as addiction and flexion of the hips, and they also help in the extension and rotation of the hips.
The hamstring muscles help to extend the hips and to flex the knees. When doing the leg crunches, your legs are stretched up high and therefore the hamstrings get extended creating tension.
BENEFITS OF LEG CRUNCHES
Leg crunches are beginner-friendly, location independent- can be done at any suitable location, and do not require any equipment.
The workout helps newer lifters learn how to contract their core without biasing their movement patterns. Raising your arms, allows you generate a contraction with the core in an easy self-cueing manner.
GREAT CARDIO WORKOUT
Leg crunches workout helps to improve your cardiac function in that when you perform it, your heart beats faster.
When your heart beats faster it means, there will be an increased intake of oxygen into your system and you will have strong cardiac muscles which lowers the risk of heart attack.
When your heart rate is increased on the regular through workouts, you will have a better circulation of blood.
STRENGTHENS YOUR LEGS
The workout takes advantage of the tension and pressure generated on the legs, abs, core and thighs to stimulate muscle growth. The leg crunches workout helps to build muscular strength in the thighs. It helps to burn excess fat calories.
ALTERNATIVES TO LEG SCISSORS
Bicycle crunches workout is a variation of the leg crunches that primarily works the abdominal muscles.
To do the bicycle crunches, start by lying down flat on a soft mat so as not to hurt your back. Raise your feet up vertically. At that point assume your legs are cycling a bicycle.
The ‘cycling’ action generates the tension that helps build your core abdominal muscles. The other secondary muscles activated are obliques, thigh muscles, and upper abs.
STANDING KNEE RAISES
Standing knee raises, also known as standing knee crunches are a functional abdominal exercise that boosts strength throughout the core.
They work upper and lower abs, hips, back, and shoulder muscles. In addition, they help to raise the heart rate, and burn calories during the workout.
This variation can be employed by those who have problems with their neck. Since you don’t need to hold your torso up.
To do the exercise, lie flat on a mat. Pull your legs back and bend your knee so that your lower leg and your thighs are at 90 degrees.
By engaging your abs, pull your knees towards your chest while your upper body is maintained on the floor. The reverse crunches activate the abs, hips, and core muscles.
LEG CRUNCHES MISTAKES TO AVOID
To achieve the maximum effect from the workout then you have to avoid the following:
UN-GROUNDING YOUR LOWER BACK
Un-grounding your lower back off the ground when you reach for your toes- crunching up reduces the impact on the core throughout the reps.
Essentially, the workout focuses on inducing tension in the core. Muscle builds up takes place when the muscles tire up in overcoming the pressure generated.
A simple remedy to raising your lower back off the ground is placing a folded towel under your back and pressing against it during the entire set. This solution can help maintain the tension in your core while your work out.
AVOID DOING LAZY REPS
Crunches are a simple exercise workout to perform and as such, it’s quite easy to lose track of momentum and slowly indulge in sluggish workouts.
Leg crunches have a short range of motion, doing lazy reps significantly reduces the gains on the target muscles groups.
Ensure you move slowly- intentionally and under control, instead of racing through the workout recklessly.
Maintaining a good form while training is essential to maximize the gains.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]