The traditional body-weight crunch targets the rectus abdominis muscle in front of your abdomen and also works the obliques on the sides of your lower torso. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all standard regarding daily crunch repetitions, you can perform up to 60 reps of spinal-flexion exercises per day -- including crunches, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Performing Crunches Daily
Unlike other muscle groups, you can train your core muscles -- such as your abs -- daily. Because your core is engaged frequently during everyday activities such as walking, your core muscles don’t need a rest day after a workout -- even if it's a hard session. Additionally, you can perform an intense crunch workout every day with little fear that your abs will grow too large, because those muscles are relatively thin to begin with, explains Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico. Kravitz adds that the number of crunch reps you do is less important than maintaining proper form, in which you lift your torso to an angle of 30 to 45 degrees off the floor.
According to a 2001 ACE study, the bicycle maneuver -- basically a crunch in which you raise one knee to your chest and twist your torso simultaneously -- is the most efficient rectus abdominis exercise. Other effective variations include the exercise-ball crunch, vertical-leg crunch and long-arm crunch. ACE study leader Peter Francis suggests you perform a variety of these exercises daily, doing as many reps as possible within five minutes.
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