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Wrong Way to Do Crunches

Question: I have heard there is a wrong way to do crunches, that if you do them wrong you can actually make your tummy bigger. Please explain the right way and how we know if we are contracting our abs or not. Thanks for your great site! Marilou

Answer: Marilou, When you're exercising your abdominal muscles, keeping the lower portion of your abs properly engaged will ensure proper form. Here's how: Try doing crunches lying on the floor with the bottoms of your feet resting on a wall. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle, and your thigh muscles relaxed. Focus on keeping your lower back flat on the ground during the whole exercise, and don't come up too far - you only need to come up far enough to lift your shoulders off the ground. Also, don't pull your neck forward - cross your arms across your chest so your neck can be strengthened but not stretched forward. Make each repetition slow and controlled.

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