Crunch exercises are one of the best ways to build your abs and core strength. You can do them just about anywhere, with floor space that’s comfortable or if you have a workout mat. You’ll get a great workout in a short amount of time, and you don’t need to do them every day.

Crunch exercises offer many benefits for those who do them as part of a regular fitness routine:

-They help to tone your body.

-They improve your cardiovascular health.

-They increase your flexibility.

-They can reduce stress levels.

Older adults should be aware of their lower back health and take precautions to avoid lower back injuries. Orthopedics generally recommends performing crunch exercises on a regular basis to help strengthen your stomach muscles and your lower back muscles.

Performing Crunch Exercise

Crunching is a simple movement, but it’s very effective.

1. Get comfortable on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Make sure your upper legs are nearly vertical. Place your hands behind your head, just below your ears. This is the starting position.

2. Contract your abdominal muscles as you curl your spine into the crunch position. This will cause your back to arch, unlike a sit-up where it remains straight.

3. As you crunch, breathe in and feel the tightness in your abs.

4. When you're returning to the start position, breathe out.

Reverse Crunch Exercise

1. Starting in the start position, lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides. Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet 6 inches off the ground.

2. When you’re performing the crunch, lift your legs and bend your knees until they’re over your stomach. Breathe out as you do this.

3. Inhale as you slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Maintaining your feet 6 inches off the ground, breath in during this motion.

Flutter Kicks (Scissors)

Flutter kicks (or scissors) are a great variation of the crunch movement, and they also target the abs. Flutter kicks are often favored in the US Military, as they help to improve Balance and Coordination.

The start position is the same as doing the reverse crunch.

1. Lie on your back and stretch your legs up in the air. With your arms extended, tuck them down by your sides and support yourself with your hands placed underneath your butt. Keeping your legs straight, lift your feet off of the ground by arching them backward 6 inches. This is the starting position.

2. To complete this exercise, alternate moving your legs up and down in an up and down motion with a range of 12″ per leg. Use a 3-count method – 1-2-3-1, 1-2-3-2, 1-2-3-3, 1-2-3-4 etc.

Ab Workout Routine

A great abdominal workout is to do a lot of bi- and tri-sets with these abdominal muscle exercises. A bi-set is where you complete one set of an exercise, and then immediately follow it with another set of different exercises. A tri-set is when you complete three sets of different exercises without any rest in between. This abdominal workout will definitely make your smoker's muscles feel the burn.

Bi-Set Ab Workout

  • 30 Crunches
  • 20 Reverse Crunches (Frog Kicks)

1. Do thirty crunches, followed immediately by twenty reverse crunches. This is one set.

2. After (3) complete sets of bi-sets with crunches and frog kicks, be sure to relax and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

3. Take a break of 1 minute between sets.

Tri-Set Ab Workout

  • 30 Crunches
  • 15 Reverse Crunches (Frog Kicks)
  • 10 3-count Flutter Kicks

1. Do 30 Crunches, then 15 Reverse Crunches, followed by 10 3-count Flutter Kicks. This is one tri-set.

2. Perform two complete tri-sets.

3. Take a 1-minute break between sets.

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