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How to Do Crunches the Right Way

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Crunches are one of those exercises that frequently and easily get butchered when performed the traditional way. I often see people do crunches by rounding their head and upper back forward and curling into a ball. That curling motion puts a ton of stress on your head, neck, shoulders, and lower back. Not to mention, this form of crunches often doesn’t even properly engage the abdominal muscles.

So, what is the answer to the question, “How do I do crunches the right way?”

The next time you feel the urge to do crunches, try these abdominal lifts instead. You’ll notice how much better they work your abdominal muscles, and how much better the rest of your body feels.

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How to Do Crunches the Right Way (i.e. Do Abdominal Lifts):

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on a wall.
  2. Scoot close enough to the wall that your knees and hips form a ninety-degree angle. (Your hips should be directly under your knees and your ankles should be level with your knees.)
  3. Place your feet hip-distance apart (measured by one and a half fist widths) with your toes pointed straight up. (Tip: Your feet are in the proper position when the outside edges of your feet are straight up and down.)
  4. Interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your head.
  5. Allow your elbows to rest on the floor.
  6. Find a spot on the ceiling that’s slightly behind your head and focus your eyes on it for the duration of this exercise.
  7. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders straight up off the floor about two inches.
  8. Exhale when you lift up and inhale when you lie back down.
  9. Keep your elbows pulled back.
  10. When lowering back down, touch your elbows to the floor first then lower your head to the floor.
  11. Do 2 sets of 25 reps. Take your time and go slowly, making sure to hold good form.

Things to watch out for:

  • Don’t use your head, hands, or arms to do the crunch. Let your stomach muscles pull your head off the floor with the hands and arms simply supporting your head.
  • Avoid arching your head backward to maintain the eye position.

Give these a try the next time you want to work your abdominals. Spare your neck and back and do crunches the right way. Your whole body will thank you!

Maryann Berry
At the age of 27, Maryann Berry suffered from chronic hip pain that left her in a wheelchair, even after consulting with over twenty healthcare professionals and undergoing invasive hip surgery. Today, Maryann is fully recovered and has been wheelchair free for years.

Maryann, who is currently certified as a Posture Alignment Specialist, created Realign as a way to empower others to take responsibility for their own health the same way she did. Maryann works with people one-on-one both digitally and in-person at her studio in San Diego, California.

To learn more about Maryann's programs, visit Realign Therapy. Maryann is also the founder of The Posture Workout a revolutionary online form of Posture Alignment Therapy that makes this method easily accessible for everyone.