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How To Do a Perfect Crunch

Beyond firming your belly, strength in the abdominals is essential because the abs' central location in the torso makes them a linchpin of bodily movement.

The abdominal muscles consist of four muscle groups layered at the front and sides of the torso. They are crucial for keeping your trunk firm, allowing you to bend and twist at the waist while providing the leverage you need to exert force with other parts of the body. They also support the spine, so strengthening them reinforces the back and protects you against lower back pain. Strong abs also promote a good, erect posture.

The abdominals are among the few muscles in the body that can stand up to being worked every day, and can also stand up to high numbers of repetitions.

To get rid of midriff flab, you'll need a healthy diet, fat burning aerobic exercise, and whole body muscular fitness. But to get that toned, firm stomach or washboard look, crunches are the best abdominal exercises to do.

Make sure you perform crunches on a mat to prevent harming the back and follow these instructions to perform them safely.

Basic Crunches:

1. Lie on your back with elbows out to the sides, hands at your temples or cupped behind your ears (not grabbing the back of the neck), or cross arms over your chest. Your head should be a few centimeters off the mat, chin tucked slightly forwards. Feet should be flat on the floor, next to each other about 5 inches (15cm) from your buttocks, with knees bent at 45 degrees. Keep the legs slightly apart.