The star crunch exercise is a crunch exercise variation that strengthens your mid-section. The mid-section is comprised of upper abs, lower abs and obliques.
Not only does a strong midsection help in the performance of your day-to-day activities but also it prevents back injury in certain situations. However, the move works your obliques and lower abs more than the regular crunches.
All you need to perform the star crunch exercise is a flat surface and some space. You need to lie down on your back with outstretched arms and legs pointing away from each other like a starfish.
Doing the move or its alternatives depends on your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.
HOW TO DO STAR CRUNCH EXERCISE
Here is a step-by-step procedure of doing the star crunch exercise.
- Get into a supine position on the floor with your back pressed into the mat. Extend both your arms and legs fully out of your body like in a jumping jack position.
- Tighten your mid-section while keeping an upright chest and some space between your chin and chest.
- Slightly elevate your arms and legs off the ground while still keeping them in a star position. This will be your starting position.
- Exhale and raise your right arm and left leg towards each other while keeping them straight. Continue engaging your core and raise your head up alongside your arm.
- Try to let your hand and foot meet in the air over the middle of your torso while still extending the other arm and leg in a starfish shape.
- Try to reach your fullest contraction before returning to the start position. Then alternate the move with the other leg and arm.
- Repeat the move for the desired number of reps.
STAR CRUNCH EXERCISE MUSCLES ENGAGED
The move targets the midsection and strengthens your core. In particular, the star crunch exercise helps develop the external and internal oblique muscles which help create that six-pack look.
Your hip flexor and back muscles can also be engaged to raise your legs and arms to some extent.
STAR CRUNCH EXERCISE BENEFITS
As a resistance training exercise, the move can strengthen your ab muscles.
More energy is required to perform the exercise than your regular daily activities. Also, extra muscle mass helps burn more calories and fat during and after the exercise.
These two features can possibly help with weight loss. Although, there are better weight loss exercises out there if weight loss is your goal.
The move promotes the release of feel-good hormones that can help improve your mood.
HELPS WITH BACK PAIN
A strengthened core improves your posture and this reduces or prevents back pain. However, talk to an expert before doing the exercise if you currently have back pain.
NO EQUIPMENT OR LOCATION REQUIRED
As a calisthenic exercise, you don’t need any equipment or be in a fixed location. All you need is a comfortable surface to lie down and some free space to be able to stretch out like a star fish.
Also, the move can help improve the quality and duration of your sleep. This in turn offers alertness alongside several other essential benefits.
STAR CRUNCH EXERCISE ALTERNATIVES
The reverse crunches are a core-strengthening exercise that targets the lower abs. It is performed with your legs lifted off the ground.
This is unlike regular crunches, which work the upper abs and are performed with the feet on the floor. Reverse crunches are better than regular crunches as the latter puts unnecessary pressure on your spine.
The reverse crunches are an efficient way of getting a shredded, strong core while avoiding getting injured.
SIDE PLANK DIPS
The side plank dips are a strength training bodyweight exercise that help build strength and stabilize your core. It exercises the muscles isometrically.
It engages a range of muscles, and it can also boost your calorie burn.
The bicycle crunches is a great ab exercise that reaches the usual abs, the deep abs and the obliques. This air bicycle maneuver offers a great core workout. It’s fit for beginners, requires no-equipment and you can perform it anywhere
LYING LEG RAISES
The lying leg raises is a great move to add to your workout routine. It strengthens your hip flexors which in turn improves your runs, your squat and your spinning.
Lying leg raises can also help with lower back pain as it generally strengthens and stabilizes your core.
SIDE LEG RAISES ON THE CAPTAIN’S CHAIR
Doing side leg raises on the captain’s chair, or any other exercise on that machine, will predominantly target your rectus abdominis, or abdominal muscles. However, not only is the machine good for just a basic ab workout but also for your abdominal hip flexors and external obliques.
STAR CRUNCH EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT ENGAGING YOUR CORE MUSCLES
You should always tuck your belly button gently in without holding your breath. This will result in the stabilizing action of the abdominals.
ARCHING YOUR BACK
Your lower back should not arch as you do the exercise. Ensure that it remains in contact with the mat, otherwise you are doing the move wrong.
STRAINING YOUR NECK
Do not try to lead the star crunch exercise with neck muscles because you can strain your neck. Ensure that you keep your neck in line with the body.
USING SHOULDER MUSCLES TO DO THE CRUNCH
Do not crunch using the shoulder muscles and shoulder blade movement. Instead, tuck your abdominal muscles and use them for the movement.
This star crunch exercise is an excellent addition for abs day. You can add it into your abdominal workout regimen, or you can do it on its own.
However, always use the proper technique for the routine for optimal results and to prevent injury. Essentially, consult with an expert before attempting the move if you are experiencing lower back pain.
Also, keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan.