Abdominal Exercises – Crunch (Curl-Up)

The question asked the most by readers, "What exercises can I do to flatten my stomach?" The abdominal crunch is the most recommended exercise to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Crunches will develop the upper abdominal muscles and help to reduce a protruding stomach. If the problem is fat in the abdominal area, aerobic exercise (fat burning exercise) is also needed.

Starting Position: Lie on the floor. Hold your legs at a 90-degree angle with your lower legs parallel to the floor or place them over a bench or a piece of furniture. Extend the arms along the side of your body or cross arms on your chest with your hands on your shoulders. The palms of your hands can be placed on your ears or interlaced behind your head. Just do not pull forward on the neck – this will only hurt your exercising!

Movement: Curl up until shoulder blades leave floor, force your chest muscles toward your legs and pull your hips forward, hold for a second, then roll down to the starting position. Remember to inhale as you move upward, exhale as you lower your shoulders. Repeat with correct form until fatigued, or perform sets of up to twenty-five repetitions.

Alternative for Beginners: Lie on the floor. Bring the knees up but keep the feet flat on the floor. Extend arms along side of body. Curl up until shoulder blades leave floor, then roll down to the starting position. Repeat with correct form until fatigued, or perform sets of up to twenty-five repetitions.