Crunches is similar to sit-ups, except that instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back.
This isolates the ab muscles without engaging muscles in your hips. Crunches are also safer than sit-ups because they don't compress your spine as much.
Time Required: 3 to 5 minutes
1. Lie on your back on the floor using a mat for cushion, bend your knees. Your feet can either be flat on the floor or suspended in the air for a more crunch.
2. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest. Don't pull your head or neck up during exercise it can place extra strain no the spine. Your head and neck should be resting on your hands.
3. Slowly curl your back to lift your shoulders towards the ceiling about one or two inches off the floor using strictly your abdominal muscles. Exhale and contract your abs as you go up and keep your neck straight.
4. When your shoulders are off the ground, pause and hold that position for a few seconds.
5. Slowly lower back down as you inhale, don't just "plop" back down. Your control on the way down works your ab muscles as well.
6. Relax your abs before doing another crunch.
7. Repeat for 15 to 20 repetitions with perfect form for each rep.
8. To add variation, bring your knees in at the same time you lift your upper body off the floor (full body crunch)
9. To make it more difficult, balance on an exercise ball.
Just follow the steps for regular crunches, but lean both legs to one side (still bent, knees together, close to floor). Lift both shoulders off the ground simultaneously like in a regular crunch. Since your torso is twisted, you will feel it in your side. Do several crunches on one side, then move your legs over and repeat on the other side.