Ab Exercise – The Basic Crunch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 31,646
    Personal trainer Margie Weiss demonstrates how to do the basic crunch ab exercise.

    Margie Weiss

    Margie Weiss has been in the fitness industry all of her life, having been a national gymnast as a child, and mother/trainer to three international athletes. Owner-coach of MG Gymnastics, her team produced international stars for 15 years. Former owner of 2 Gold's Gym franchises, Margie is also a certified personal trainer, specializing in youth sports conditioning. She has trained international athletes, including her children. Her son, Michael, is a 2-time US Olympic figure skater and 3-time US National Champion. Currently, she is GGX (Group exercise director & instructor) for 3 Gold's Gyms, where one of her programs boasts 500 classes per month; she supervises 175 instructors. Having published many articles in the fitness field, she enjoys seeing progress in each of her participants. But the things that makes her most proud of the lives she has affected are her 5 grandchildren, all of whom live very close. Seeing their smiles makes every day worth smiling about!

    Margie Weiss: This is Margie Weiss. Segment of Simply Abs involves the crunch, the basic crunch. It is one of the simplest exercises that you do to get core strength. All we want to do here is safety first is to make sure that the chin is off the neck, the elbows are off to the side, belly is to the floor. What we are going to do here, this is my daughter Jeremy, she is an aerobics director, she is going to do the work for you and I am going to talk to you a little bit about it. All she is going to do is from this position, we are going to lift and lower, lift and lower, lift and lower. If you do this along with her, by the time you have finished 30 minutes, you are going to feel it. If you do 30 minutes, you are going to want to make sure that you are supporting your head because we dont want to have any neck issues at the end of this. This is a core exercise, its not about your neck. As she comes up and down she is breathing out on the rise and down she is breathing in. Up and down, breathe out, breathe in. That way you make sure that you can continue your breathing. We can slow this down a little bit, if we want, we can go up and down. Or we can go two counts. Up and up, as you go up and down a little bit slower, doesnt mean you are going to be pulling on your neck more. You are lifting the chin and you are contracting more from the waist. Whats you want to be thinking about is you want to be thinking about the rib bone and the hip bone. If you put a thumb on rib and your third finger on your hip, as you go up and down, you are going to feel them coming closer together because what we are doing is taking your backbone and pressing it down into the floor. So, this really shouldnt be called a crunch up, it really should be called a press down, because it comes from the core rather than from the lift.

    The fact that your head is lifting up and down is a result of what you are doing at the core, which is pressing down with your bellybutton. How hard you can press your hips to the floor, your lower back to the floor determines your workout. So, at the end of the workout, if you dont think you have done a good one, you havent compressed hard enough. What you also want to do is not just think about the upper body, but you want to think about the area in here as well. Pretend like you have a penny in your glute; squeeze them real tight as you go up and down, because by stabilizing the bottom half of your core, you are also forcing the top half of the body to work harder. Again, dont forget to breathe out as you rise. Lets make it three counts up. 3, 2, 1 and down 3, 2 she is going up a ladder. She is not looking at her knees, she is looking up. The neck is neutral compared with the backbone. Now, if you want to make it a little harder as you come down, dont quite come all the way down, just go half down and then all the way back up. 2, 3 and half doing it to the beats of the music, generally helps to keep you in a rhythm because most people when the workout tend to start to speed up, then you dont really feel the position. Notice that she is continually moving, there is no point at which she is stalled and relaxes. She does stall a little bit at the top, but thats at work point rather than at the base where there is a rest. She is stilling breathing out and releasing. Up 2, 3 you got it give me two more. Up 2, 3 one more time that we are going to slow it way down. You are going up a ladder four counts to the top. 4, 3, 2, you at the top of the ladder now slow round your backbone take it back down. Breathing out, push your shoulders away from your ears, support your head, a lot of times as you get tired the technique goes, and take it up 2, 3, and 4 and take it down 2. So, lets go back to 2x2, take it up for 2 and down. Now, notice we that have been working mostly the upper body, we can add a little lower body in here without stopping the chest. All we are going to do is take the hips, lift them off the ground just a bit, so your rear ends off the ground and its not going to touch, so just squeeze it as you come up and hold it off the ground. Notice also by lifting your hips a little you cant lift your chest quite as hard thats okay, doesnt mean you are not doing the workout. Now, if you are getting a little tired and if you think your technique is going, put your fist right under your chin. That way you know you are not pulling on your neck. You are still breathing out and breathing in. If you feel your legs are starting to shake a little bit, thats okay you are working some hamstring and some glute as well, because working abs isnt all about the front, which is what most people think of. Working abs is the entire core is called core strength. Simply Abs, doesnt mean simply one group, it means all we are doing is working every muscle nice and simple, this is not a hard exercise, but when you do it for long, you are going to get the workout through your core, you are going to stabilize, your entire body is going to be stronger, and down give me two more here take it up. Little rest, you are going to stretch out just a little, hands over the head, take a deep breath, breathe in; you may want to straighten your legs almost straight. And then take a deep breath in and deep breath out. Slowly sit it up and support yourself if you need to on the way up. Hold the shoulders a little bit Simply Abs crunches.