If you are tired of sit ups and want to switch things up in your ab workout routine then you are going to love today’s feature; the long arm crunches.
The long arm crunch is almost like an incomplete sit up of sorts but still packs a punch for your abdominals also known as the abs. And yes, it will work both your upper and lower abdominals.
It is as beginner friendly as they come and you need absolutely no equipment. It is pretty much the whole package for working for those toned abs. Let us see how you can do this exercise;
- Requirements: No equipment required.
- Ly flat on the floor and make sure your lower back is not arched but pressed to the floor. Be sure to place your hands loosely beside or behind your head.
- Place your feet on the floor and bend your knees. This is your starting position.
- Curl your torso forward off the floor making sure your shoulder blades come off the floor. Remember to exhale while doing this. Do not bend your neck forward as you may cause some unnecessary neck injury.
- Hold for a second and then slowly return to the starting position, inhaling while doing this. Repeat this for 8-15 reps depending on your level of fitness.
Again, do not bend your neck while doing the long arm crunches or you might just get a costly ticket to the doctor’s office. Check out this video to see how exactly it is done.
WHAT MUSCLES ARE WORKED BY THE LONG ARM CRUNCHES?
The long arm crunches are an isolation exercise that solely target the abdominal muscles.
The abdominals comprise 5 main muscles; pyramidalis, rectus abdominus, external obliques, internal obliques and the transversus abdominis. These all make up the abs. They help keep your organs in place and support your body during movement. Well-developed abdominals mean better support in both posture and in movement, and the long arm crunches will help you get there.
BENEFITS OF LONG ARM CRUNCHES
The long arm crunches have a variety of benefits. Here are some of them.
STRONGER CORE MUSCLES
This is a bit obvious but it must be said. When it comes to ab exercises, the long arm crunches might as well be one of the easiest and beginner-friendly, but this does not mean that it does not have great benefits for your abs. If you are looking for stronger core muscles, then long arm crunches are a pretty good place to start before moving on to the more challenging ab isolation exercises.
BALANCE AND STABILITY
You will be as stable as a ballerina and this is no exaggeration. You will feel some extra strength in your torso and your balance will improve greatly.
Its counterintuitive but stronger abs actually improve the overall health of your back. You will be dodging back injuries as well as pain left right and centre!
EASE OF ACCESS
All you need is you and you are good to go! No equipment needed. Just get on a comfortable mat and you can get to doing your long arm crunches. It is that simple.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE LONG ARM CRUNCHES
If by chance you do not fancy the long arm crunches and want to head straight into the more challenging ab exercises, we’ve got you covered. Here are some excellent alternatives that will get blood pumping in your abdominals.
LEMON SQUEEZER EXERCISE
We are starting the list strong with the lemon squeezer exercise; a contender for top spot in the world of ab exercises. This exercise will work your abs to their very limits if done right. Here is how you do it;
- Requirements: No equipment required.
- Lie on your back and have your arms and legs extended to about hip width.
- Lift your arms and legs to hover just above the ground. Engage your core by pulling your abs in towards your spine.
- Curl upwards by bending your knees towards your torso. Lift your upper body off the floor and bring your arms to reach for the calves. During this time, you will be balanced on your hips.
- Release slowly, with control, back to the floor to complete one rep. 10-20 reps is the sweet spot.
Not to worry, this alternative has nothing to do with bugs; just abs. Here is how it is done;
- Have your arms fully extended to the sides and face up. Bend your knees and bring your legs to tabletop position and lower your legs parallel to the floor.
- Tighten your core and reach the left arm up and behind your head while your right leg straightens. Make sure the straightened leg does not touch the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat the cycle on the other side to complete a rep. Do as many as you are comfortable with.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING THE LONG ARM CRUNCH
BENDING YOUR NECK
This is by all means the most common mistake for the long arm crunch as well as the push up. Bending your neck while curling up may cause significant injuries on your cervical vertebrae.
To avoid this, ensure your neck is in the same plane with your torso when curling up.
FORGETTING TO BREATHE
It may seem obvious but forgetting to breathe during and exercise is definitely a common error. Holding your breath for too long during the exercise can lead to serious complications.
Be sure to align your breaths with your movements; inhale as you lower towards the floor and exhale as you raise your shoulder blades off the floor.
The long arm crunch is a pretty solid ab exercise to incorporate into anyone’s workout routine. It can build core strength and general body stability. That being said, it is best suited for the beginner to intermediate groups. It is more of a bridge to more difficult ab exercises. So go out there and get ‘crunching’; your abs will rejoice!