Abdominal Crunch

1.   Assume a supine position on an exercise mat or the floor.

2.  Rest your feet on top of a chair, low bench, or exercise ball.

3.   Ensure that your thighs are at 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the floor.

4.   Cross your arms in front or your chest, or cradle your neck with your hands.

5.   With your legs and feet close together, flatten your back and tighten your abs.

6.   Begin to curl up very slowly, keeping your shoulders and neck relaxed. Keep your back flat, exhale, and tense your abs as hard as you can.

7.   Pause for one full second when your abs are maximally tensed.

8.   Inhale as you lower your shoulders. Stop when your shoulder blades touch the floor.

9.   Repeat until you reach failure (you can't perform any more reps with strict form).

Other Key Points and Reminders

  Don't tuck your chin or extend your neck. Keep your neck fully relaxed.
  If you're able to do twelve reps (or more) maintaining perfect form, add some weight for resistance (hold it as high on your chest as you can).
  When you feel your shoulder blades touch the floor, don't let yourself relax — begin the next rep immediately. Pause when you're up, not down.
  Move in a slow, controlled fashion. Try not to rock or jerk yourself up.
  Don't hold your breath or pull on the back of your neck as you curl yourself up.
  For a slightly different effect, try twisting your torso as you curl up. With your hands behind your head, rotate your right elbow toward your left knee. Pause in the up position, then repeat on the opposite side.