Sporting a set of ripped abs is just about everyone’s goal. Millions of dollars are spent by companies advertising products that promise this specific result. Having strong abdominal muscles goes beyond just aesthetics though as your core is involved in just about every movement of your body and having a well developed one will help make anything you do that much easier.
As far as exercises for this beloved body part, none have received as much attention as the crunch. This small little movement has been responsible for more ripped six pack than probably all other exercises combined. Crunches work; there is no question about it. Some variations of crunches can be even more effective than just regular crunches alone. Twisting crunches help to recruit all of the muscles in the abdominal area and will give you an amazing working and get you on your way to a ripped and functional core.
The basic twisting crunch is performed similar to a basic crunch. Lie on the floor with your knees in the air. Crunch forward and twist ever so slightly to the left and then return back to the ground. Then, crunch and twist your torso to the right and return.
For an even bigger bang for your buck, you might want to try weighted twisting crunches. Adding weight to any core workout will dramatically increase the effectiveness of the exercise. Start off with just a small weight plate held behind your head. Hold the plate secure while crunching up and twisting your body. Be careful when performing these as the first few workouts will definitely make you sore.
Another great variation to the twisting crunch is the twisting crunch performed on an exercise ball. The fact that you will have to balance yourself WHILE performing the twisting crunch adds a fantastic dynamic to this simple crunch variation. I like to perform these without weights, because the stabilization required while using an exercise ball usually gives me more than enough of a core workout without even needing to take it to the next level.
Boxers and those in the military alike oftentimes perform military crunches just a little differently. These are often called “explosive twisting crunches.” The difference in these crunches is that once you crunch forward, you twist very quickly to the left and to the right many times before returning back to your original starting position. These crunches should be reserved for this with a significant amount of training and conditioning as they place extreme stress on your entire abdominal region.
One last variation of the twisting crunch requires you to bring your knees to your elbows during the twisting portion. This variation will help to recruit more of your lower abdominals and your upper thighs and hip area as well. This variation is perhaps is a favorite for many folks doing core workouts because of its ability to hit your entire core area in a very thorough way ensuring an overall abdominal workout.
No matter if you choose one or all of the exercises above, please keep in mind this helpful safety tip: DON’T PULL YOUR HEAD OR NECK WITH YOUR HANDS DURING THE EXERCISE! So many people, including experience fitness enthusiasts forget this one simple thing causing undue stress and potential injury to your neck and shoulders. Keep it safe and intense and you will have a rockin six pack in no time at all!