The full vertical crunch is a great exercise for isolating and toning all the muscles of your abdomen. When you perform the full vertical crunch, you’ll use both your upper and lower bodies to target and tone the abs; this makes the full vertical crunch one of the most effective ab exercises. Here’s how you can perform the full vertical crunch at home.
1. Lie Flat on Your Back
To perform the full vertical crunch, you’re going to need to find a firm surface where you can lie flat on your back. If you use a hardwood floor or other excessively hard surface, you may want to put down an exercise mat first.
2. Extend Your Legs
The full vertical crunch is performed with both legs extended straight into the air. Keep your legs as straight as possible. If you have problems keeping your legs straight while holding them vertically in the air, bend your knees as much as you need to. It’s important that your lower back remain pressed firmly into the floor.
3. Lace Your Fingers Behind Your Head
Lace your fingers behind your head, the way you do when performing a traditional crunch. You may also tent your fingers around your ears. Keep your elbows extended on either side of your head and your shoulders squared and relaxed.
4. Simultaneously Lift Your Shoulders and Your Pelvis off the Floor
To perform the full vertical crunch, you’ll need to simultaneously lift your shoulders and your pelvis off the floor. Do this by contracting your abdominal muscles. You will be simultaneously lifting your chest towards your knees and your heels towards the ceiling. Your pelvis will lift slightly off the floor, and you’ll be able to raise your shoulders higher still, but your lower back and middle back up to the bottom of the ribcage should remain pressed firmly into the floor.
Lifting your shoulders and your pelvis in this manner strongly isolates all the muscles of your abdomen. You many find it difficult to perform many repetitions of the full vertical crunch at first. Begin with one set 10 to 15 repetitions, then rest. Do more sets if you feel up to it.
5. Add More Repetitions as You Gain Strength
You’ll quickly gain strength and muscle tone from the full vertical crunch, since it’s one of the most effective abdominal exercises you can perform. As you gain muscle tone and strength, add repetitions to your full vertical crunch routine. You’ll find that you’re quickly able to perform more repetitions without resting, and as time passes, you’ll be able to perform more sets of repetitions.
While the full vertical crunch is a very effective exercise, varying your abdominal workouts can prevent muscle fatigue and allow you to work your abs harder. Variations on the full vertical crunch include the traditional crunch, performed with both feet flat on the floor, and the vertical crunch, in which you keep your legs extended but lift only your shoulders, so that your pelvis remains on the floor.