How to Build Up Strength to Do a Reverse Crunch

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The reverse crunch is an intermediate-level core-strengthening exercise. You'll find that you are able to perform more traditional crunches than reverse crunches, as the reverse crunch uses more of the lower abdominal area. This area tends to be weaker and requires preconditioning before you add the reverse crunch to your exercise routine. Your rectus abdominis, the muscle that runs down the middle of your abdomen, contracts from the top and the bottom when you perform crunches. Although you cannot isolate the lower abdominal area, you can train your pelvis and hips to tilt as they will during the reverse crunch and concentrate on contracting the muscle from the bottom to the top.

Things You'll Need

  • Exercise ball (optional)
  • Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Position your feet approximately 1 foot from your hips and spaced approximately hips-distance apart.

  • Straighten your arms onto the floor in line with your shoulders, or place one hand on your lower abdominal area so you can feel the contraction.

  • Look straight up to protect your neck and keep your spine in alignment. Exhale, and tighten your abdominals by pulling your navel toward your spine. At the same time, deepen the contraction to tilt your hips up and press your lower back into the floor.

  • Relax your glutes as you perform the pelvic tilt. Let the control of the movement come only from your abdominals. Keep the movement small, using only a slight pelvic tilt.

  • Inhale, relax your abdominals and let your hips return to the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral, not arched, alignment.

  • Complete one to three sets of eight to 12 pelvic tilts. When this is easy, straighten your legs and rest your heel on the floor as you perform the tilt. When three sets of the straight-leg tilts are easy, perform the pelvic tilt with your back on an exercise ball and your hips hanging below your head.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always warm up before you perform abdominal exercises. Walk, cycle, run, dance or do other full-body activities for five to 10 minutes before you perform the pelvic tilt.
  • Use the pelvic tilt every day, or every other day to increase your core strength for the reverse crunch.
  • If you experience any back discomfort, stop the exercise and speak with your doctor.

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References

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