Abdominal crunches help build up muscle and burn fat. They are an evergreen solution for losing weight which explains their popularity. Crunches are simple to master. They comprise mainly of lying down on your back with feet raised slightly, then in a gradual motion lifting the upper portion of the body. Never try to push the body with the help of hand as it will only result in injury. There are many variations of the basic crunch which are summarised below. In each crunch, it is always best to hold the position once you are at the peak. Initially, it is difficult to master but once you have perfected the art of crunches, you can then hold for a bit longer. Proper breathing is also necessary so inhale when you are on your way down. Never push down with your hands as it may result in an injury. It is also important to relax for a while before attempting another crunch but as you exercise regularly, the time interval can be reduced based on your own comfort level.
Basic technique is the same and the goal is to lift the body with the help of the upper torso. However, the variation arises in the manner in which the lifting is done. Instead of the whole torso, each shoulder is lifted at a time. This will help in reducing weight from each of the sides where the fat deposits develop first. Twist crunches are a great way to lose weight as they help in burning fat quickly.
Another variation of the basic crunch where the process is reversed, instead of the upper torso, the trick is to lift the lower parts of the body instead. Needless to say, this should also be done without using the help of hands for maximum benefit.
Thai Style Crunch
Another variation of the basic crunch where the abdominal muscles are extra exercised. This can help in providing tensile strength to the abdomen which is of use to Thai fighters since they take maximum blows in this particular area. The basic format of the Thai crunch is same as that of a normal crunch wherein you must lie face down and lift the body but once the action is completed, in a single movement the stomach is touched. A bit harder to master, it needs some practise to develop the desired amount of flexibility.
Cable style Crunch
This is another variation of the crunch where a machine cable is also used. Lying face down in a kneeling posture, the cable is then pulled with the help of legs. Another variation can involve using exercise balls.
Additional weights when added to the basic crunch exercise can modify results. Weights maybe places on the chest or on the chin and the amount of weight added can be gradually increased over a period of time. This results in faster weight loss and is an ideal method to remove fat from your body. A declined bench may also be used for additional effect.