Equipment needed: None. Reverse crunches on the floor require no special weight training equipment. You can do them on a mat for comfort if you like.
Abdominal Muscles Targeted: Rectus Abdominus. This is the set of muscles that goes down the front of your torso from your sternum to your pelvis. These muscles make up six pack abs for women (with the proper exercise and diet). The main purpose of the Rectus Abdominus is to keep your rib cage and your pelvis closer together.
Start by lying on your back on the floor or a mat; bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor; place your hands (palms face down) by the side of your hips.
Slowly crunch your lower body off the ground by curling your hips back towards your head. Your bent legs should be pointing towards the ceiling. Your feet can be crossed or uncrossed.
Slowly lower your bent legs to the floor, tap the floor lightly with your toes, and then lift your hips off the floor to repeat the crunch.
Repeat crunches until you feel a burn. Increase the number of repetitions as your abdominal muscles become stronger.
Ask ten personal trainers to show you a proper reverse crunch and you'll see as many variations to this effective abs exercise. Whichever variation you select, just be sure to do the motion slowly by using your abdominal muscles and not by using momentum.
Your hands can also be put behind your head or fingertips at the side of the head. Just be sure not to pull on your neck as this can cause injury.
Slightly lift your head and shoulders off the floor for a greater workout.
When you are bringing your knees away from your chest, you can extend your legs to be parallel to the floor. Don't let your feet touch the floor.
With any type of crunch or abs exercise, try to focus on your deepest abdominal muscles (transversus abdominis--the muscles you feel when you cough). This will provide greater stability and help you to work more than one set of abdominal muscles with each exercise.
Common Myth: Although reverse crunches are talked about as lower ab exercises, it's a common misconception that you can target only your "lower abs" and "upper abs" by doing lower ab exercises and upper abs exercises. These muscles cannot be worked separately. In fact, they are all part of the same long Rectus Abdominus muscle.
Benefits of Abdominal Exercises for Women
Abdominal exercises help to strengthen your core muscle (core muscles include your abs, back and pelvic muscles). Strong core muscles help you do life's everyday physical activities, from such basic things as bending over to pick something up to more strenuous activities such as strength training.
Strong core muscles help you to more effectively and safely perform all other weight lifting or strength training routines.
Abs exercises targeting the front ab muscles help you to get rid of stubborn stomach fat. But remember, if you're working out to get rid of unwanted fat, you're most likely going to have to alter your diet in addition to working out.
Going Beyond Reverse Crunches
A strong core and strong abs are crucial for a fit and healthy body. Incorporating reverse crunches into your weight training routine will help you reach this important goal.
If you want to go even further and get an overall strong and great looking body, then take a look at Mike Geary's The Truth About Abs
The Truth About Abs website explains how abdominal exercises for women should not really be our main focus if we want to get great looking abs. A full body workout and weight loss are what we really need to do. Geary lays out a comprehensive weight training and nutrition program to help women reach their fitness goals.
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