Friday, December 17, 2010

On the fourth day of Christmas... .

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....Fitness Ball Crunches!

 Why it Rocks: The exercise ball is an excellent tool to strengthen the abs and is the third most effective move for targeting the rectus abdominis(your upper and lower abs.) What makes this move a bit more effective than crunches on the floor is that the legs are often involved in floor crunches. On the ball, the abs do more work. The angle of the ball allows you to lean back quite far in order to give your abdominals a better stretch. The movement and bounce of the ball forces your abs to contract to stay balanced.

How to do it....

1.Lay on the ball and start with your feet flat on the ground a good distance away from the ball. If your feet are too close you will lose balance. Lean back and place the middle of your back squarely on the ball and your finger tips on your forehead. Do not put your hand behind your head as you may be tempted to tug on your neck. You should be able to feel a good stretch in your abs.

2. Take a breath in and tense your abdominal muscles. You must learn to use this tension to crunch yourself up as opposed to any momentum you are able to generate. Breathe out and curl yourself up by contracting your abs. You should start with your head, shoulders and then middle torso. You are not trying to lift yourself up like a see-saw.

3. Curl your torso up one slight bit more and perform a final “crunch” of the abs. This is where the fitness ball works its magic as your upper body is now on a slightly higher angle than your lower body which allows you to crunch harder. Hold this for a count of one and then slowly lower yourself back down for the next repetition.

Tips that might help

1. Keep breathing!

2. Don't pull on your neck, you could injure your body instead of helping it..

3. Its very important to make sure your form is correct, it would be better to only do a few with good form then more with bad form and end up hurting yourself         
4. You should always perform each repetition as slow as possible.Your abs get a much bigger challenge when you move slow and really force them to support you and keep you balanced.  
5. Twist on the final one if you want to make it harder.

Have a Very, Merry Christmas! 

Cameron Ashleigh


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