I prefer doing crunches on my stability ball. That way my back is protected
Fitness Minutes: (79,091)
2,489 11/20/12 8:31 A
Is your back flat and neck straight while pulling up? It doesn't have to be a complete movement to a 90 degree angle.
***Make sure you are sucking your navel into you spine during the movement and lifting with your abs only. This will make the exercise more challenging and more effective.
You could also give bicycle crunches or crunches with a twist a try. I'm really struggling to finish more 10-12 reverse crunch (leg raises) right now. You lie flat on the floor and keep your legs straight while raising them to a 90 degree angle and then slowly lower them to the floor without touching before your raise them again.
I usually do a mix of plank and other isometric exercises, various crunches, bridges and one lower back exercise for my core.
Have you given the Creative Core video here on Spark a try? I found it very challenging in the beginning: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos -detail.asp?video=26
You could also try Coach Nicole's Crunchless Core. It will help you add some non-crunch exercises to your core reportore: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/videos -detail.asp?video=54
YES you should feel crunches, but it's very difficult to determine if you are using proper form! Unlike most exercises where it's obvious (butt too high/low for push-ups/planking, slouched back for bicep curls, etc.), crunches need to be "prefect" down to each nuance.
Things to check for: 1.) No neck strain. You should not be using your arms or you head/neck to help you get up. Most people prefer to keep their hands at their temple to ensure this--I'm a fan of crossing my arms over my chest to get them out of the way.
2.) Don't arch your back--a lot of people neglect to keep their lower back on the floor. Your back should be entirely flat against the floor. As you start to curl, the top vertebrae should begin lifting off, but the middle and lower should still be on the form. Curl up as high as you can. This is likely your problem.
If that doesn't help, then you can always make it more difficult by holding weights as you lift--but be careful about form!
Other good ab exercises include bicycle crunches, planking, and bird-dogs.
Fitness Minutes: (35,097)
2,167 11/20/12 5:20 A
Endurance muscles (those muscles that work all the time, e.g. core muscles such as abs, back muscles etc) are very hard to get sore. It can be done, but except for the first time you make them work hard, getting them sore requires pretty heavy weight lifting.
Muscles do grow even when they are not sore after regular workouts (under a caloric surplus). This indicates that, for an effective workout, it is not necessary to feel sore (or DOMS the next day). But if you do, it is proof that the workout served its purpose.
Soreness is normally a sign that you are doing something your muscles are not used to, rather than it being a sign of effective exercise.
Strength training is all about quality, not quantity. If you want to add challenge to crunches, the best way is to hold the 'up' position for 3-5 seconds. Even if this means you can do fewer reps, this is far more effective than trying to do as many crunches as you can.
I also agree with the comment that planks are a far more effective core exercise than crunches, as you work a much broader range of muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 11/19/12 5:35 P
Planks are actually a better ab strengthener and overall ab exercise versus crunches which tend to isolate the rectus abdominus.
I do leg raises and planks atm, which i do feel. Not very good at planking but getting there, LOL. should i just switch the exercise for something that i do feel?
Fitness Minutes: (35,078)
5,088 11/19/12 5:28 P
Is your back completely flat against the floor as you're doing them? If it's not, then you could really hurt your back. Also, are you only doing crunches? Have you tried bicycle crunches, leg raises, reverse crunches, planks. anything else to target your abs?
Should i be feeling the crunches while im going them and have the dull "you have use me" ache in them the next day? ATM i'm doing bout 25 of them during the session, but i haven't been feeling anything. I googled a video thinking maybe i am doing them wrong but i seem to be doing them right.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.