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Crunches and Co: effective abdominal training for "home"

Now that summer is here, of course, a nice "six-pack" can be seen. You can easily save the way to the gym and invest the time directly in an effective and modern home training! Learn step by step how to properly and easily train your abs at home without any aids

You do not need a machine for a good abdominal training. A towel and some ambition are enough. In addition to push-ups, sit-ups are probably the most commonly performed exercises in your own home. We would like to show you some other possibilities for your homeworkout. But first a few basic words.

Abdominal training and Coretraining

Now fast and easy to dream figure!

The training of the straight abdominal muscle is often exercised in strength training for the wrong reasons. The basic idea of ​​the layman sounds logical at first: The problem zone tummy is supposed to change, so this area is being worked on intensively. Unfortunately, our body does not work that easy. The training of the muscles has no direct influence on the surrounding fat cells. These must be addressed in the long term with hard training and healthy nutrition. Where the body first accesses its fat deposits is not influenced. For a flat stomach you need patience.

But even if the abdominal muscle training is exercised for false motivation reasons, it leads to an excellent result. It prevents or eliminates many back problems caused by our wrong everyday life.

For some years one rather talks about the core area or the hull training instead of abdominal exercises. This is meant to express that our abdominal muscles are only part of the whole and good training also includes the surrounding areas. Of course, this approach is useful and recommended, even if a good abdominal training always contained the same exercises as today's core specials.

Basics anatomy

Every trainee is advised to take a brief look at the anatomy of the most important muscles from time to time. The information on the location and function of the target muscle not only help with a better execution, but also enable creative people to devise their own exercise variations. It is not necessary to complete a medical degree right away. Let's take a look at the main abdominal muscles.

The straight abdominal muscle (Musculus rectus abdominis) runs from the ribs to the pelvis. Therefore, he can either bend the trunk or lift the pelvis. He is divided by several intermediate tendons across and the Linea Alba long, which gives him the classic washboard belly look with appropriate body fat. By the way, since some people naturally have more or less intermediate tendons, training does not influence whether you see six or eight muscle bellies - nor symmetry.

The lateral abdominal muscles ( abdominal external oblique muscle and abdominal internal oblique muscle) run diagonally between the linea, the pelvis, and the ribs. They bend and turn the hull.

Last but not least, the transverse abdominal musculature (transversus abdominis muscle), which also extends from the ribs and pelvis to the lineage of Alba. It lowers the ribs, compresses the stomach and supports the exhalation.


- If you have problems with your neck muscles holding your head during many exercises, place your head in a towel and hold the top corners with your hands. Alternatively, you can of course use your hands as a support. Be sure to only guide your head without pulling on it.

- If all support and guidance are not sufficient, take your time during the breaks and lightly press the back of your head into the floor or your towel. To activate the opponents of the supporting neck muscles and relieve the pulling.

- Be sure to leave at least one tennis ball in place between your chin and chest during all exercises. Otherwise you will overstretch your rear neck and neck muscles, which can cause pain and injury.

- For all exercises, try to maintain a basic tension in your lower abdominal muscles by pulling the navel slightly inwards. Especially women can build some tension in the pelvic floor at the same time.

Exercises for the straight abdominal muscle

By the way: in the current FT Magazin you will find more information on this topic

We start with exercises that are most demanding of the straight abdominal muscle. Of course, support and stabilize the remaining trunk muscles. Because this muscle area is naturally designed for endurance, you can aim for a higher range of repetition, even if the primary goal is muscle growth. If you still want to complicate the exercises, a large gym ball, additional weights or the rated tube are the perfect choice. Alternatively, you can also experiment with speed and practice exercising your own volition in the muscle at will.

The crunch

Crunch or Situp?

While the entire upper body is detached from the floor during situp and only sits on the buttocks in the end position, the lower back remains on the ground during the crunch. This variant is not only gentler, but also much easier for beginners. Since the Situp especially the thighs and hip flexors and usually bring a lot of momentum the necessary height, newcomers to this exercise is not recommended.

The classic crunch

The classic crunch starts in the bottom layer on the back. The legs can be set up slightly angled. To prevent the force from the hips and legs from being used, you can push the heel into the ground or simply pull your feet as close to your buttocks as possible. Pull the belly button slightly inwards and build up your basic tension. Depending on the level of difficulty, you can move your hands further down or up. Because the pivot point is approximately at the level of the navel, complicating the exercises will be more difficult if you extend your arms behind your head, extending the lever or making it easier to hold hands just on your stomach.

So, if you use your hands to support the head as a standard, you should be aware that at the same time you are choosing a more strenuous position.

Now slowly roll up your upper body starting with your head, lifting your head, then touching the shoulder and inch by inch of the spine until only your lower back touches the ground. The goal is to approximate the ribcage and pelvis. Remember to leave some space between your chin and chest and look up towards the ceiling. Firmly press the stomach together and roll off in a controlled manner.

There are many variations of the normal crunch. With your legs in the air, touching your fingertips in front of your thighs, pressing something imaginary between your knees, putting your arms behind your head, stretching your feet to the ceiling, pulling your fingers as far as you can to your toes, and so on The basis of the movement is always the same.

Serratus Crunch

Another variation is the Serratus Crunch, which we would particularly like to recommend. In addition to the ability to intensify the abdominal exercise with small weights, he trains the active mobilization and mobility of the shoulder blades by involving the sawtooth muscle (serratus anterior muscle). This pulls from the ribs to the scapula and tilts this. He is also activated in the exercise "coatings" reinforced as well as the kettlebell exercise "Turkish Get Up".

For the exercise, lie back on your back. The arms stretch to the ceiling and imagine carrying a tray. On this is a glass of water that we do not want to spill. Using your abdominal muscles, lift the upper body and the tray as high as possible towards the ceiling. While doing so, pull your shoulder blades forward and lower them again at the end of the exercise.

Leg raises or reverse crunch

The leg lift, or reverse crunch, is not focused on lifting the upper body, but focuses on the second function of the straight abdominal muscle, lifting the pelvis. The lever is our leg this time. Since the legs are usually longer and heavier than the upper body, especially women at the beginning often have problems with this exercise.

It is possible to distinguish two types of abdominal work: active work of a straight abdominal muscle and the holding, stabilizing work. The former is always done when the buttocks are easily detached from the floor and the pelvis tilts upwards. The latter fixes the pelvis and back on the floor and prevents the tipping down of the pelvis.

Here are some examples:

They are lying on their backs. Her legs are in a 90 ° angle in the hips and knees in the air. The upper body lies on the ground, arms stretched laterally. There is little air between your lower back and the floor through the normal double S-shape of the spine. You pull the navel slightly inwards and tighten your abdominal muscles. Now they alternately push one leg forward without changing the space between the back and the floor.

If this is too easy for you, try moving both legs forward at the same time. Next, stretch your legs and only move them up and down over your hips. Of course, you are also free to hold at the lowest point for a few seconds.

Let us now complete the active movements

Pull your knees to the chest until your buttocks are a few inches off the floor. If this works well, keep your legs straight and try to lift your feet towards the ceiling. Again, the butt dissolves a few inches. At first support yourself with your hands. Make sure your legs do not just tip back, but actually go straight up.


For a particularly heavy fitness workout, combine the passive and active work areas: for example leg raises with an extended leg in combination with the pelvic lift exercise.

A not only popular with physiotherapists exercise is also the "beetle". Here you extend arm and leg one side down, while the knee of the other side is pulled to the chest and the arm is stretched long behind the head. The abdominal tension fixes your trunk again. Like a beetle lying on its back you "pedal" now with arms and legs by changing the position of the sides. Try to touch your knee diagonally with your forward hand.

Now that we've introduced the basics of abdominal anatomy and abdominal functions, let's look at the oblique abdominal muscles. In addition, the focus is on the deeper core muscles that support breathing and how the corset stabilizes the body. This is a must for many more exercises and at the same time excellent protection against back pain.

The elbow support

The elbow support is certainly one of the best-known fitness exercises and has already been discussed extensively in numerous articles. Everywhere and always executable and with endless possibilities of variation, it is almost unbeatable. An exercise ball or a sling trainer offer an ideal complement. Incidentally, the latter can be built relatively quickly and simply from a strong rope for home.

For a slightly fun alternative, you'll need an old kid's trampoline and a tennis ball. Instead of standing on your elbows, stand with your hands on the trampoline. The feet are slightly elevated on a block, ball or in a sling trainer. Now place the tennis ball on the trampoline and dodge it with your hands without touching the edges of the trampoline.

The straight elbow support

Again, the basics for the straight elbow support: They lie on the stomach, put on the toes, pull the navel slightly inwards and tense stomach and buttocks. Your shoulder blades are once more fixed and your elbow is just below the shoulder joint. Her forearms are pointing forward. The body forms a straight line from head to toe in which neither the butt points towards the ceiling nor the back sags. This position will last as long as possible. As a simplification, do the exercise on your knees.

To make the holding time a bit more varied, you can try as a human saw. Only push back and forth through the ankle movement as though sawing a tree trunk.

Other possibilities of movement are exhibiting the legs and arms. To do this, detach one foot from the floor and guide it slightly outwards. Here you can park your foot and do the same with the other side. Or you bring the foot directly back to the starting position before you change sides. The exercise works similarly with the hands. Remove one elbow from the floor and bring the arm slightly outwards so that your hand / arm position is reminiscent of that of a push-up. Of course, you can also use a combination of arms and legs.

The lateral elbow support

The lateral elbow support not only appeals to other muscle parts more, but also requires significantly more balance. In the lateral position, the elbow is again in a straight line below the shoulder joint. The feet lie on each other and the body shapes the board. Here, not only the straight line in the vertical space but also on the horizontal to pay attention. Neither the hips should dodge forward or back, sag or point to the ceiling.

This changes if you also want to beautify the holding time by small movement games. For example, slowly move your hips up and down a bit. Or combine holding with a twist by grabbing the "window" with your free hand under your body and slowly turning back up. Coordinated athletes can also make a change of sides.

Two more tips to lower the level of difficulty: This exercise can also be performed on the knees. If you shake too much, spread your legs slightly and place both feet on the floor. Thus, instead of the two-point stand, a body with three feet is created.

It is more difficult, however, if you stretch the free arm over your head and lift the leg up at the same time.

holding exercises

Isometric holding is one of the main functions of the abdominal muscles in our everyday life. A good reason to include them in training. In addition, these exercises are pretty crisp heavy.

On the ground

Supine on the floor, you can work with upper or lower body - and of course combine both. Lift your legs off the ground and hold. Ideal supplement to the exercise Leg Raise.

Or you roll up your upper body slightly and stay in that position. To intensify this workout, slowly extend your arms overhead. Who is willing to take risks and just can not get enough, of course, can work with a chair and let the body float even more freely in the air. In any case, make sure you have a sufficient fuse to prevent it from falling over.

With tube

They stand. Find a point that is slightly above your head and is suitable for attachment. Once you have wrapped the tube around the beam or similar, turn around and hold the handles in both hands. Take a few steps until tension is on the rubber. Stand in a small lunge for better grip. Tense your stomach and slowly stretch your arms upwards. The tube will now try to pull you back and into a hollow back, which should prevent your abdominal muscles under any circumstances. After a few seconds, lower your hands to shoulder level, recover for a few seconds and start again.

The twist

Twist is all about rotation in the truest sense of the word. Thus, the obliquen are increasingly demanded.

The simplest form of execution is a crunch variant. In the known supine position you lift and rotate your torso at the same time. For beginners, it is advisable to bring your hands forward and push them alternately past the knees.

Another popular exercise is the "stir pot". Imagine you have a big spoon in both hands and your knees are the pot. Now circle with both hands around your knees - do not forget to change direction. Who cheats and the upper body as far removed from the ground, that the legs reinforced take over the work, puts the heel as close as possible to the buttocks again.


A great alternative is this exercise, especially since it can be ideally integrated into a crunchy workout with pushups and Moutain Climber.

The start is in the quadruped stand. Now stretch one leg straight to the back. Lift the bent leg slightly off the ground. The arms are stretched. The body again forms a board. Now turn the bent leg about 90 ° to the left and then just as far to the right side.

As the rotation moves the entire hip, it is inevitable that the leg also rotates. Therefore, pay attention to good shoes and a non-slip surface.

Side Bend

Last but not least, you can also train the lateral trunk musculature with lateral flexion movements. At home here also offers the exercise execution in Bodenlage.

Once again you start in the crunch position. The arms are stretched laterally next to the body. Lift the head and shoulder girdle only a few inches and hold this position. Now move your hands alternately towards your feet without straightening up.

The exercise can also be trained in lateral position. Here, experienced athletes have the opportunity to work on the longer and thus heavier leg lever and lift the legs and the pelvis laterally instead of the upper body.

Other variants would be by means of a water box standing or with the well-tried tube. But then always make sure to only take the weight in one hand. Otherwise, the counterweight pulls the body to the other side and takes the work off the muscles.

Marcel Kremer

Our book tip for training at home:

Fit without equipment - Exercise with your own body weight

Fit without devices

Whether at home or very much on the way! Fit without equipment is a simple and extremely efficient training concept that works without any aids and only uses your own body weight as resistance. The exercises can be carried out in the smallest of spaces and require a minimum of time: training 30 minutes four times a week is enough to get slim, strong and fit in record time. This fitness formula is also ideal for the modern working person, because it can be integrated into any life plan. Whether at home, in a hotel room or in the office - the training can take place anywhere. Preparation time is not necessary, because you do not need any equipment and the access to the fitness center is eliminated. With the 125 exercises in this book, everyone trains on their own level, whether beginner or professional. There are motivational and nutrition tips from the expert.

You can order the book directly here in the shop or via Amazon .

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