How to Do Crunches for a Flat Stomach

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Crunches alone will not make a flat stomach, because spot reduction isn't possible, but spot training can be helpful. Discover how to achieve flat abs through exercise, diet and cardio with help from a professional trainer in this free video on exercise and fitness.

Part of the Video Series: Personal Fitness Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm CarolAnn with Studio F.I.T. of Tampa, and I'm going to show you how to do crunches for a flat stomach. Before we do, the one thing that I want to express is that we cannot spot reduce but we can spot train. If you're looking to lose fat around the abdominal area, diet and cardio are going to be your best bet to reduce the look and the fat that's around the abdominal area but to train those abdominal muscles underneath to really get that cherry on top, here are some exercises that you can perform. A simple abdominal crunch involves lowering your lower back down to the mat and pulling your naval in towards your spine contracting your abdominals. Then gently place your fingertips behind your head and lifting your shoulder blades up off the floor, crunch your abdominal muscles. In other words, contract as hard as you can and then your breath will create an even deeper abdominal crunch. So exhale as you come up and inhale as you come down. When performing this single leg stretch, lift your head and shoulders up and bring one knee in towards your chest while the other leg is extended out and just simply switch legs alternating, pulling that knee in as close to the chest as possible while extending the other leg as long and lean as possible. You want to keep your shoulder blades up off the floor and look forward, avoiding looking up towards the ceiling. You want to look forward and your breath is inhale, inhale, so inhale for two, then exhale for two and you can perform about 20 reps of those single leg stretches. For the double leg stretch, lift your head and shoulders up off the mat and bring both knees in towards your chest. Then extend your arms overhead and your legs straight out, then circle your arms around and bring your knees in, inhale when you open, exhale when you swing around and pull those knees in. Inhale, then exhale. As you're performing this, keep your lower back pressing to the mat and pull that naval in towards your spine to create that nice flat stomach. And perform about 20 reps. For the single straight leg stretch, bring both knees into your chest and lift your shoulder blades up off the floor. Extend one leg straight up in the air and the other leg out and we're going to do a gentle pulse, double pulse on one leg, then switch, double pulse on the other leg, pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse. This is a great stretch for the hamstring muscles as you're flattening out that stomach, engaging the core, looking forward, avoid looking up, do not look up, look forward, protect that neck. And you can perform ten on each leg and then rest. The double straight leg stretch involves taking your leg straight up in the air and lift your shoulder blades up off the floor, keep your elbows nice and wide and lower your legs down as far down as you can and lift up. As you're performing this you want to keep your lower back pressing to the mat so you don't want to arch your back up off the mat so keep it pressing down, flattening out those abs, breathing, inhale down, exhale up and to keep control, squeeze those gluts. Then rest, perform about 20 reps. You perform those exercises all in a row and then you'll be doing crunches for a flat stomach. I'm CarolAnn with Studio F.I.T. of Tampa.

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