More Challenging Crunches

Posted to by Tim Mansfield (Alan b Callander) writes:

>I have been doing crunches for some time and wanted to know if anyone had
>a suggestion for making them more challenging.  I no longer feel the burn
>the way I used to.  I have increased the number of crunches I do, but that
>seems like it could go on forever and doesn't necessarily seem efficient. 

>For example, as my strength improves with a press, I add more weight to
>the bar.  Is there an equivalent evolution for crunches?

This isn't covered very explicitly in the Ab FAQ.

There are three basic ways to increase the difficulty of ab work

	* Increase quality
	* Add weight
	* Add reps
	* Add exercises


If you've been doing ab work for a while, it's easy to get a little slack
on your form. The first thing to do is make sure that each rep is as hard
as you can make it. Go slow, Crunch hard at the top and hold it for a
couple of seconds.


You can add weight to the crunch just as you do to a press. By

1) holding a weight on the chest while you crunch
2) crunching on an incline board (make sure you don't involve the hip
   flexors in this movement, keep it as an ab movement)
3) using a weighted ab machine (such as an Ab Bench)
4) doing pulley crunches
	kneel on the floor
	grab a high pulley handle with an underhand grip
	brace your elbows against your chest


Doing lots of reps in ab work builds endurance. If you aren't trying to
build size on your abs that might be OK, but if you're short on time, this
might not be the way to go.


The Legendary Abs people reckon that doing lower ab work before crunches
make for a more intense workout. The Ab FAQ (see below) lists a selection
of lower ab exercises. Start with an easy one until you can do it easily
for 20 reps and then move up.

Don't do leg raises until you're certain you're using your abs for them,
not your hip flexors.

Hope some of that helps. This stuff will turn up in the Ab FAQ in some

Tim Mansfield

The Abdominal Training FAQ is intended as an introduction to the basic
principles of training the abdominal area, sometimes known as the belly or
the abs. The creation of this FAQ was motivated by frequent questions on
the topic in the newsgroup 

The Ab Training FAQ is a periodic USENET posting, not a mailing list, so
you can't subscribe to it. New versions of the FAQ are posted every month
to* and misc.answers. 

A hypertext WWW version is available for World Wide Web browsers like Mosaic 
using the URL:

The text version is also available via anonymous ftp from the following
sites:		/pub/usenet/		/usenet/FAQs/

Users who cannot access ftp or the Web can get the FAQ from the Weights
Mailing List archive server by sending mail to
with the command "abs" in the body.

Finally, if nothing else works, requests for the FAQ may be sent to the FAQ
maintainer: Tim Mansfield . 

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