There’s a lot we understand about how our bodies move and how our anatomy works. However, when it comes down to understanding why some people have that perfect six-pack and others don’t, we are left scratching our heads. So, if you only have an hour a day to work on your abs, what’s the best training method and are crunches beneficial enough?
You cannot get abs just doing crunches because crunches alone won’t get rid of belly fat. Although crunches provide intense abdominal muscle isolation and are a great workout, you’ll still need to alternate abs exercises, practice cardio, and commit to a healthy, calorie-deficit diet to see results.
Crunches should still be an essential part of your core training routine – but there is much more to it! Read on to learn about why crunches aren’t enough to give you abs and what you can do instead to get the physique you want.
How Many Crunches Should I Do a Day To Get Abs?
Crunches are among the most valuable exercises to practice if you are trying to get that six-pack ready for summer! They are easy to learn, come with a low risk of injuries, and you can practice them anywhere.
One of the reasons why they are so helpful in helping you build abs is their target focus. Similar to sit ups, crunches target the core. However, unlike sit ups, they provide intense abdominal muscle isolation, which allows you to work out your core, lower back, and obliques.
However, as we have seen, crunches alone are not likely to do the trick – here’s why:
- Crunches don’t help with fat reduction. Crunches can help you burn some calories and enjoy a healthier lifestyle, but they don’t specifically reduce the fat on your abdomen. This happens because, when you’re working out, your body takes the energy from the whole body, not just from the area where you wish to burn fat.
- Crunches are not intense enough. When you start working out, you are likely to feel the effect of 20 crunches or less. Over time, you’ll increase the reps, but this effort won’t automatically translate into stronger or more defined abs.
Crunches are a must-have exercise in your gym routine, but you should not solely count on them to get a six-pack you want. As you now know, factors such as your diet and full body training are just as important for your goal.
If you wish to get started with crunches, you should consider starting with 20 or 30 reps, which you can then increase to 50 or 100, depending on how strong your abs are. But don’t forget to mix and match your exercises so that your abs won’t only be strong but also flexible, efficient, and supple!
Different Types of Abs Workouts To Build Strength
So, if crunches are not the only exercise to practice to get your abs, what should you be doing during your next gym session?
Unfortunately, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” formula to know what will work on your body. After all, the perfect six-pack is a combination of lifestyle, diet, genetics, hormones, and much more!
However, when you are focusing on tackling this challenge at the gym, the secret is alternating exercises. By mixing and matching the following options, you can strengthen your abs and make them more flexible, increase your motion range, and decrease the risk of injuries.
In the video below, you can find a quick ab workout to get you started:
Alternatively, check out the exercises below:
Crunch Variations To Boost Your Abdominal Resilience
The term ‘crunches’ is used to define an extended family of exercises that aim to strengthen the core muscles. Here are a few variations to try next time you are on your gym mat:
- Ab crunches: Laying on your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor, lift and lower your shoulders towards the knees. Repeat this movement slowly and while keeping your arms on your chest.
- Bicycle crunch: Perfect to work your obliques, this crunch is easy to learn. All you need to do is start with your lower back on the mat and your shoulder raised. From this position, lift your legs one at a time towards your chest, bringing the opposite elbow towards the raised knee.
- Gym ball crunch: Using a gym ball, lie on it and let your weight hang heavy, allowing the spine to curve naturally. Then, raise your shoulders and use your core to bring yourself back to a seated position.
- Reverse crunch: This crunch focuses on your lower abs. Start by lying on the mat and, by keeping your back flat with the mat, raise your legs, bringing your knees towards the chest.
- Oblique crunch: This crunch is similar to basic ab crunch, but you will focus on your obliques rather than on the ventral muscles of your abdomen. To do so, shift your hips to one side and let the knees fall to the floor. Then, lift your shoulders and torso off the ground.
Other crunches include crossover crunch, medicine ball crunch, weighted crunch, weighted crunch reach, dumbbell pull-over crunch, and cable crunch.
Calisthenics To Target Larger Muscle Groups
Calisthenics is one of the most efficient kinds of exercise to get abs. This kind of training does not solely focus on one muscle group, but it allows one to exercise all the core, arms, and legs muscles.
Calisthenics is a discipline that can be traced back to Ancient Greece, and it was then used for military purposes during the 1800s. Since then, this discipline has continued to evolve, and today, it represents the best way to improve your strength, as well as flexibility and range of motion.
When practicing calisthenics, you will learn new movements such as handstand, wall walk, and the human flag. However, to start with, you will build your strength and endurance through push-ups, planks, jumping exercises, squats, crunches, and situps.
Cardio Exercises To Increase Your Endurance
Cardio is essential if you wish to see those abs pop out! Thanks to cardio exercises, you can increase your heart rate, speed up your metabolism, and burn extra calories. When coupled with a healthy, low-calorie diet, all of this can help you shed the belly fat that could be hiding your six-pack!
Running is a great moderate-intensity aerobic exercise that helps you build endurance and lose weight. But don’t worry if you are not into running! There are many other options to choose from, including rope jumping, swimming, hiking, burpees, and dancing.
Types of Ab Equipment That Can Aid in Your Exercises
Today, a quick Google search will show you that there are many alternatives for machines and devices to help you build your abs. Most of these are also lightweight and easy to operate at home.
However, it’s unnecessary to have any particular type of ab equipment to start working towards your six-pack! A yoga mat that can support your back is the one thing that can help you avoid a sore back and injuries.
Additionally, you might find that a dumbbell or medical ball can help you step up your workout intensity. Once you have practiced your crunches for a while and found that they can’t get you any further, a pull-up bar and a gym ball can help you introduce new, more intense exercises.
However, keep in mind that your abs won’t start showing overnight! Consistency and regular workouts are the keys to achieve results that last – even if these will start to appear after a few weeks!
To speed up the process, you could also:
- Commit to a healthy, low-calorie diet.
- Switch your daily routine for a more dynamic lifestyle.
- Be more mindful about your posture, as this is connected to your abs.
- Practice breathing exercises such as stomach vacuum.
We all want a flat, showing six-pack to be proud of! And, undoubtedly, celebrities and models make it look easy to have sculpted abs. However, depending on your diet, posture, and lifestyle, you might need to work for months towards your six-pack!
Crunches are an essential part of your workout routine and core conditioning, but you also need to introduce alternative exercises and cardio to see defined abs.
I Advise You To Read More About Full Body Workout
- Can You Get Fit Just Doing Push-ups and Sit-ups?
- Push-Ups Vs Pull-Ups Which is Better?
- How Many Push-Ups a Day For Beginners?
- Can You Get Fit With Just Pushups, Pull-Ups, and Squats?