A spreading middle is the bane of advancing years and a sedentary lifestyle. People spending hours behind a desk will find this to be an almost unavoidable part of the description of their physique.

The ‘Pear’ shape, the ‘Apple’ shape, the much coveted (or envied) Six Pack…are all terms that refer to the middle of our trunk / the shape of the tummy. Some of the bulge is because of fat deposition but lax or weakened muscles of the stomach is an important cause as well. There are several ways to deal with the fat but this is one question that will haunt you daily: How come fat settles so easily but takes forever to get rid of??

 Exercising the abdominals is the best way to tone them up. It will not only help melt the inches around the tummy but stronger muscles will improve posture which will reduce the ‘pot bellied’ appearance. There are several excellent workouts and exercise combos. The commonest one is doing hundreds of crunches. This will help only when done correctly.

Here are some tips to get your crunches right:

  • Make sure the head is relaxed and in line with the trunk. Often one tends to crane the neck and head forward which in effect means less work for  the targeted muscles.Support your neck if possible with your hands.
  • Depending on the type of exercise, keep the hips and knees bent when lying on the floor. This way one reduces/eliminates the action of the hip flexors and can get maximal work out of the abs.
  • Never ever hold the breath when doing crunches. Keep breathing. Breathe out when contracting the abs (when you come up or when you exert) and breathe in during the opposite movement.
  • Tighten and tuck in your tummy at the start of every repetition. 

Remember to exercise the opposing muscles as well, namely back extensors. You would have noticed that poles often have metal ropes on either side to support and keep them straight? Similarly, our spine needs strong muscles on both sides (abdominals in the front and extensors at the back) to keep it straight and strong. This improves core strength. Pilates, Power Yoga, Malkhamb are super ways to boost core strength.


Disclaimer: All
suggestions are general in nature. Readers are advised to exercise
caution before implementing them and seek expert advise about what is
suitable for their specific needs.  

Images taken from Microsoft Clip Art

8 Replies to “Crunches”

  1. The tips are wonderful. I prefer running over crunches because although I wish to do it the lazy bone in my body kicks me out of that idea.

    – Kripali
    (AJ's wHooligans)
    Sumptuous Living

  2. Great Blog post. I know a number of us are working on getting into better shape. Very inspiring.
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