A very common bodyweight workout toe touch crunches, is a core working exercise that mainly targets your abdominal muscle which is the muscle responsible for your spinal stability.
The exercise also strengthens and tones your abs if getting a six-pack definition or just reducing belly fat is one of your fitness goals.
How to do toe touch crunches:
Required material: none
- Lie down with your back on the floor, your feet should be fully outstretched and held together.
- Flex your core and glutes to raise your legs, bending at the waist till they are straight in the air at about ninety degrees with your torso.
- Simultaneously stretch your arms forward, lifting your shoulders and head off the ground and reaching for your feet.
- Once you touch your toes with your fingers, hold the position for two seconds and slowly let your feet, hands, and shoulders fall back down.
- Repeat this motion for fifteen reps in a set of two.
WHAT MUSCLES DO TOE TOUCHES WORK?
The exercise primarily strengthens your rectus abdominis muscle, which is the muscle that envelops your whole abdomen.
Toe-touch crunches also work your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back as secondary muscles as you attempt to lift your legs to a ninety-degree angle and stabilize them.
BENEFITS OF DOING TOE TOUCHES
STRENGTHENS AND TONES MUSCLES
Toe-touch crunches primarily train your core this helps strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles giving rise to the well-known “six-pack” with consistency.
The exercise also works and strengthens your lower back; this helps reduce any lower back injuries or recurring lower back pain.
HELPS BURN FAT
Toe-touch crunches have higher energy requirements than your day-to-day activities, this causes your body to burn more calories to produce this energy.
The workout also increases your metabolism by growing your muscles which helps burn more fat both during the night and day to provide energy for growth.
IMPROVES BALANCE AND COORDINATION
Keeping your torso raised off the ground while also keeping your legs straight requires a high amount of balance to maintain consistently.
This raises your core strength which forms the basis for you not only getting better balance but also improving your posture by making it easier for your body to maintain an upright position.
INCREASES HIP MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Constantly raising your legs to about ninety degrees and lowering them helps improve your hip mobility and flexibility by stretching out your hips, hamstrings and calves.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING TOE TOUCH CRUNCHES
A burpee is a calisthenic full-body workout that builds strength, power and muscular endurance.
The exercise mainly focuses on your chest, core, glutes, arms, hamstrings and back.
HOW TO DO A BURPEE
Required equipment: none
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms to the side of your hips. Make sure your feet are planted to the ground and you have a good grip.
- Get into a half squat position with your knees bent at about eighty to ninety degrees, making sure to keep your back straight. This is your start position.
- Lower your hands to the floor, in front of your knees with your palms fully spread to brace the force.
- Shift your weight to your hands and kick your feet back, keeping the same distance between them.
- Your weight should now be balanced on your hands and toes and in a raised push-up position.
- Keep your body straight from your head to your heels and do one push-up. Remember to keep your core braced throughout the exercise.
- Shift your weight back into your hands and jump your feet forward so they are under your chest.
- Stand and reach your arms out above your head, loading and activating your glutes, hamstrings and calves and jump into the air.
- Extend your legs as you come back down to brace yourself so that your knees do not take most of the force.
- Bend your knees slightly as soon as you land and get back into the squat position.
- Repeat this motion for tens reps in a set of three.
Ensure that when you are doing a push-up that you do not lift your butt in the air or sag your hips. This could put a strain on your shoulders and lead to injury.
MARCHING GLUTE BRIDGE
This is a variation of a regular glute bridge that focuses on your glutes but your abs, hamstrings and lower back.
How to do a marching glute bridge:
Required equipment: none (a mat is optional)
- Lie flat with your back pressed against the mat and with your arms to the sides of your hip. Have your feet about hip-width apart.
- Bend your legs at the knee to about ninety degrees and plant your feet firmly on the ground about six inches away from your glutes, with your knees and ankles in one line.
- Tense up your core and squeeze your glutes in a controlled manner, lift your body off the ground by driving your heels into the ground.
- Your torso should be in a straight line as well as your back and your shoulders and arm should remain on the ground.
- Lift your left foot off the ground by flexing your hamstrings, ensuring that your pelvis does not shift to one side.
- Slowly lower your left foot back down, using your core to resist gravity as much as possible.
- Repeat the same motion for the right side, which will count as one rep.
- Continue with the motion for ten reps in a set of two, resting for a minute in between each set.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE DOING TOE-TOUCH CRUNCHES
STRAINING YOUR SHOULDERS
Do not use your shoulder muscles or any shoulder blade movement to assist with your curls; instead, use your core muscles for the workout.
ARCHING YOUR BACK
While performing the exercise, your lower back should be kept straight. Arching reduces the effect of toe-touch crunches on your core and legs.
This could also lead to injuries or back pain due to additional stress on your back.
Toe-touch crunches are a more challenging exercise for those who find regular crunches a bit easier.
Though more engaging, they are easy to perform, require no equipment and need only a small amount of space, making them a good addition to your home workout to strengthen your abdominal muscles and legs.