If you have read the article about crunches, you surely know, that despite its popularity, this exercise is far from the best for strong and develop your abdominals. Besides, it is quite isolating (affecting only a small muscle section). It is better for home training to choose exercises that involve bigger muscle groups – in this case, in a smaller period of time you can get better result (we train at home, because we do not have much free time). In today’s article we will look at some exercise, aiming to work on all the front body muscles.
What muscles work: rectus and oblique abdominals, psoas muscle, rectus hip muscle.
Performing the exercise: sit on the edge of a stable stool (if you use a chair with a back, place it beside you). Grab the edge of the stool, straighten your legs, so that they almost touch the floor, and lean back, so that your body was making a straight line with legs (photo 1). On exhale, keeping legs together, slowly bend them in knees and hips, pulling them to chest. At the top point make one second pause (photo 2) and slowly go back to the starting position on exhale. Repeat the exercise for required number of reps.
Notice: try to keep your abdominals tensed during the whole exercise. Don’t try to touch your chest with knees by bending your back – 20 cm of space should remain. Your knees can be the indicator of proper bend: if at the top point they start to spread – you should stop. Perform the exercise in 2-1-3-1 rhythm (2 seconds to pull legs, one second pause at the top, three seconds to control the leg lower, one second pause to prepare to the next rep).
If it’s difficult for you to perform with proposed technique – try to sit a little more straight or lower your legs not so low. With time you should master the correct exercise technique.
If you have mastered this kind of exercise, you can move on to more difficult (also more effective) exercises for abdominals, that are performed laying. We recommend you to start from alternate leg raises.
Good books to read:
Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.