If you are looking for a well-rounded core workout, you can bet your bottom dollar scissor crunches will get the job done for you.
In addition to your core, this advanced crunch variation works your lower back by using it to provide additional stability to your body in the crunch position.
Here’s how to do it with the best form:
- Lie on your back on the floor or a mat.
- Peel your upper back off the ground.
- Lift your feet a few inches above the ground, pointing your toes outward.
- Tighten your core.
- Put your hands behind your head or at your hips by your side.
- Lift one of your legs high, towards the ceiling
- Hold for one second before bringing it down and repeating the lift with the other leg. This should create a scissor motion.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SCISSOR CRUNCHES WORK?
Engaging the muscles in your core is what allows you to lift your legs alternately towards the ceiling without falling to your side.
In particular, the transverse abdominis, obliques and rectus abdominis work extra hard to stabilize your body during the scissor motion.
This exercise also engages your lower back, quads, glutes and abductors which work together to move your legs up during the movement.
BENEFITS OF SCISSOR CRUNCHES
BUILD CORE STRENGTH
The number one aim of scissor crunches is to strengthen your core by making it work harder to stabilize your body with your feet and lower back off the ground.
If you constantly suffer back pain, especially in your lower back, chances are you have a weak core.
A weak core is one of the most common causes of back pain and back muscle injuries, which could worsen your posture.
Scissor crunches can help make your posture better by working your core and lower back, which then stabilizes your spine and gives you better posture, hence alleviating pain on your back.
However, note that there could be a million other reasons why your back hurts and if the pain seems a little above normal then you should probably see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis as to the underlying cause of it.
HELP WITH WEIGHT LOSS
Being a highly intense exercise, this movement requires a lot of energy to pull off, which helps burn a significant amount of calories and helps you lose weight especially in the midsection.
NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED
Scissor crunches are a bodyweight exercise, which means you do not need any special fitness equipment to do them, especially if you are at the basic or intermediate fitness level.
However, individuals at an advanced training level may add weights such as dumbbells to increase its intensity and work more muscles in the upper body.
If you are relatively new to scissor crunches and you find them challenging, you can modify them by not lifting your feet off the ground.
This might reduce the tension on your core, but it will still work your muscles to a lesser degree.
Likewise, you can make it more challenging by holding dumbbells in both hands as you perform the scissor motion.
With the extra resistance from the weights, you could work more upper body muscles and increase the tension in your core for better results.
ALTERNATIVES TO SCISSOR CRUNCHES
The mountain climber works your core with an extra advantage of adding cardio to your workout to get your heart rate up.
To do it properly:
- Begin by assuming a push-up position; core tight, feet together, body in a straight line from head to toe and hands in line with the wrists.
- Lift your left foot off the ground and draw your left knee in towards your chest. Your back should be flat and your butt dropped down.
- Tap the floor with your toes and return the left foot to the starting position.
- Draw the right foot in and repeat these steps.
- Do as many reps as you want, making sure to alternate your legs with every rep.
For the plank jack, you will need to have mastered the basic plank before trying it out because it is more difficult to perform as it involves movement.
Here’s how to do it:
- Get into the plank position.
- Jump your feet apart until they are just a bit past shoulder width.
- Pause for a few seconds.
- Get back to the starting position.
- Repeat the jump as many times as you wish, making sure your body stays in a straight line when you assume the plank position.
You can do the windshield wiper in two different ways; with your legs straight or with your knees bent.
Whichever leg position you opt for should let you do the movement with the best possible form.
- Lie on the floor, face up with your arms extended out to your sides.
- With your legs pressed together, bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle and lift the legs so that your shins are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be stacked over your hips.
- Tighten your core and press your back to the ground.
- Exhaling, drop your knees to the right side with your legs still pressed together.
- Inhale and get back to the center.
- Repeat these steps on the left side.
SCISSOR CRUNCHES MISTAKES TO AVOID
Using fast motions for this exercise will do you no good.
Since you are looking to strengthen the target muscles, slow and controlled movements will work best for you.
This is because when you move slowly, steadily and with control, you automatically increase the time under tension (TUT) of your muscles which translates into a better workout.
There you have it! Scissor crunches – one of the best ways to strengthen your entire core and lower back at the same time.
Add it to your core workout today to take your ab workout to a whole new level, with a bonus of cardio and back workout!