How to Do an Abdominal Butterfly Crunch

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The abdominal butterfly crunch is an exercise that targets the upper abdominal muscles. It offers a twist on the common abdominal crunch exercise. Since your knees drop out to the side it makes it more difficult to maintain a flat spine which in turn works your abdominal muscles even more. Try this variation to help work your abs even harder and add variety to your routine.

  • Lie on the floor on your back. The knees are bent and the feet are flat on the floor. Keeping the soles of your feet touching, drop the knees out to the side and away from one another.

  • Keep your low back in contact with the floor. The closer your heels are to your body, the harder it is to maintain a flat spine so slide the heels further away if needed.

  • The closer your knees are to the floor the more tendency there is for the low back to arch. So only lower the knees as far as you can allowing the low back to stay in contact with the floor. You may not be able to open the knees very far if your inner muscles are tight. However with constant stretching this will improve.

  • Place the fingertips lightly behind the head. Avoid clasping the hands as this may cause you to pull on the neck.

  • Press your low back into the floor, tighten your abdominal muscles and on the exhale lift the head and shoulder blades straight up off the floor. Do not round forward, instead lift straight up to the ceiling.

  • On the inhale lower slowly down with control. Repeat for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you just rest your fingertips behind the head. Only come up a small amount, just until you feel a contraction on the upper abs. Coming up higher does not isolate the muscles as well.
  • This exercise should not cause back pain. Really be aware of your body and keep the low back in contact with the floor at all times.
  • Stop any exercise that causes or makes your neck or back pain worse.
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