Conquer the crunch! Here's how to do it right

Crunches are boring, crunches aren't good for you--we've heard it all before. The thing is, like anything you do a zillion times or without proper form, the classic crunch has gotten a bad reputation. And you know what? We're here to bust it. Here's how to do a crunch right--and make it the most essential move in your workout repetoire.

Rule #1: Get the form down

Lay down on your fitness mat, the grass or a stretch of carpet. Lay flat and straight, and let your body loosen up. Now, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Now either put your hands beneath your head--hands flat on top of each other, not grasped--or put one beneath your head and the other straight out beside your on the ground, per Popsugar Fitness. Now use your abdominable muscles to lift your shoulders and torso from the ground oh-so slowly. Hold, tightening your abs, then slowly release. You should never, ever use your hands or arms to pull yourself forward and up.

Rule #2: Stop. Moving. So. Quickly.

Repeat after us: Knocking out crunches is not a race. In fact, your goal shouldn't be to "knock them out," it should be to do them right. Adding speed to the equation will lead to stressing your back and neck rather than building up that six pack you're coveting. Use your abdominals slowly and surely, and execute 10 to 20 reps correctly. There ya go!

Rule #3: Modify, modify, modify 

Now, it's true that doing a standard crunch doesn't work all of your core muscles. But there are easy modifications you can add to your routine to fix that little problem. A few of our favorites:

- Lifting your knees so that your shins are parallel to the floor in a table top position

- Crunching your lower body up as you lift your torso off the ground

- Doing a bicycle motion with your legs, alternating the movement across your body so that your knees move toward the opposite elbow 

Ready? It's time to hit the floor and crunch on, chicas! 

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by Brittany Taylor | 2/1/2016
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