Side crunches are very effective way to develop well-defined and strong upper abdominal muscles. They are crucial for those engaged in team and individual sports like baseball, golf, tennis, football and hockey. By the way, Ronnie Coleman says side crunches are best exercises for obliques.
How to Perform Side Crunches Correctly
- Lying flat on your back, bend your knees. Turn both knees to the same side so that your “bottom” leg touches the floor.
- Place your hands under the head or put them on the chest.
- Breathe in and hold the breath. Straining your obliques, lift your upper torso off the floor. Make sure you move your upper body strictly straight up off the floor.
- Move it until you reach approximately 20 degree angle. Now breathe out and return to starting position. Make a brief pause and repeat. When you finish with one oblique muscle, turn your knees to the other side and do the same exercise for another.
- Don’t try to lift your head and shoulders higher. Not only is it useless but also may lead to back injury.
- Breathe in deeper than usual and hold the breath as you lift your body.
- Lift only your head and shoulders. Keep your back lying flat on the floor. When you lift the whole torso, it will load your lower back, not obliques.
- Try to move your head and shoulders straight up off the floor. Don’t bend your head to the “working” side, don’t throw your head back or bend it down towards your chest. Make sure you lift your shoulders by straining obliques, not by sharp forward motion of your head.
This exercise is not recommended for those who don’t have flexible hips. It might be that you are not able to place your hips at a 90-degree angle to your body or you strain for it. If so, you will have to jerk your body off the floor and that will overburden your vertebral disks.
How Muscles and Joints Work When Performing Side Crunches
This exercise involves external and internal obliques as well as rectus abdominis. Obliques are located at the side of the torso and run at an angle from rectus abdominis to the lower back muscles. Fibers of external oblique muscles form V-shape (front view). External oblique muscles lie just underneath internal ones and form upside down V-shape.
Mostly, you work internal obliques. As for external obliques, only their upper parts are involved because, if you do the exercise right, their lower parts lie horizontally. When you lift your shoulders off the floor, upper part of the abs is involved.
Source of the image: ab-core-and-stomach-exercises.com