If you want to train your core and strengthen it, as a beginner, a simple crunch variation like Straight Leg Crunches will be a great exercise.
With a number of variation under its belt, crunches purposely work on the ab muscles and strengthen the muscles.
The exercise is a very simple and convenient workout for beginners since you can do it almost anywhere and it does not require any extra gym equipment.
HOW TO DO STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCHES PROPERLY
Requirements for this exercise is only a gym or yoga mat since you will lie flat on the floor to do the workout.
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How to do it:
- Lie flat on the mat facing up and stretch your legs until they are straight.
- Place your hands at the back of your head but not as a support. This is your starting position.
- Inhale as you lift your upper back off the floor as you would for a normal bent knee crunch. Tighten your leg muscles same as your core.
- For a beginner it may be a challenge keeping your legs on the floor and knees bent, which is why you should tighten your thigh muscles, quadriceps, as it helps keep the legs flat on the ground.
- Make sure your hands are not pushing your head and upper body forward. Your core muscles should be doing the most.
- Exhale as you lower back to your starting position and repeat.
- Do 2 sets of 8-12 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCHES WORK
That part on your torso that feels extremely painful after a few crunches is where you will find different sets of abdominal muscles. There are 5 main abdominal muscles, which are pyramidalis, rectus abdominus, transversus abdominis and the external and internal obliques.
The abdominal muscles help to stabilize the back when doing the workout due to the position it takes while crunching. This way, your back will not have a ruined posture nor back pain because less tension is subjected to it.
It is easy for fat to build up on the abdominal area but the most challenging and painstaking area to burn fat. The challenge may be because it is easier for most to puke their guts out while working out the area.
Working out the ab muscles with this workout tones and defines the muscles giving you a strong and great looking abs, which will increase upper body stability while working out on different variations of crunches and other workout.
STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCHES BENEFITS
TONES AND DEFINES THE ABS
Since Straight Leg Crunches are more of a beginner’s playing field. A few reps and you will feel the fat burning and muscles contracting.
The workout defines the abdominal area and progressively burns more fat. To achieve nicely toned abs you need to incorporate more crunches variations and add weights to them.
STRENGTHENS THE ABS MUSCLES
By burning more fat in each routine, you allow muscles to be directly capable of contracting and activating. This facilitates muscle build-up and strengthening.
A strong set of abs guarantees better and easier workout sessions especially for your upper body since the abdominal area is able to stabilize the movements with ease.
ALTERNATIVES TO STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCHES
A weak core will definitely cry tears of pain and regret but without pain when burning fat, you are just joy riding. Get that toned abdominal area and snatch that waist.
How to do it:
- Lie on a mat with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Place your hands lightly on the side of your head. This is your starting position.
- Inhale as you squeeze your abs and crunch up until your whole upper body is off the ground and almost upright.
- Exhale as you go back to your starting position.
- The motion requires you to have a controlled up and down movement to fully activate the abs muscles.
- Do 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
Weightless exercises always have a way of making you sweat buckets. Just the form and technique will have you burning fat to the extreme.
A great alternative to Straight Leg Crunches, toe touches work just as well and with the advantage of being performed almost anywhere.
How to do it:
- Lie flat on a mat facing up and raise your legs, as vertical as possible and the sole of your feet should be facing up.
- With stretched out arms vertically, lift your torso upwards and reach towards your toes with your hands as much as you can.
- Hold the position for a count or two and then relax your torso back to the floor.
- Inhale as you lift your torso and exhale as you go back to lying flat.
- Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCHES MISTAKES TO AVOID
RAISING YOUR LEGS
Raising your legs lessens the abs engagement and the workout will not be as effective as it should be.
A common mistake when you are a beginner but you can avoid it by tightening your thigh muscles, and quadriceps, in order to keep them on the floor or try to keep them on the floor.
Alternatively, you can have someone hold your legs down while doing the crunches.
BENDING THE KNEES
A weak core can lead to bending your knees in order to counteract the movement and assist in the upward motion of the upper back. Same trick to help maximize the abs engagement, tighten those quadriceps and you will have less knee bends and more abs muscle activation.
Straight Leg Crunches are an easy bunch to do no matter your size or level of flexibility. It may not reciprocate the same intensity and momentum as that of other weightless exercises but it will definitely set you on the right path to burning that abdominal fat and toning the torso area.
On the downside, crunches have a posture and lower back pain history where trainers comment that crunches do cause back pain and shifts your posture to curve.
Exercises have solutions to their mistakes, stretching and reducing tension on your back can help work on the crunches downsides and get great results on your abs. call it a win-win exercise.