Kettlebell Crunches are one of the best strength building kettlebell exercises that you can perform for your upper Abdominal wall. The exercise itself is very basic to perform, yet it is this simplicity itself which can lead to the exercise being performed incorrectly and therefore not benefiting the Abs.
The Abdominal wall is the subject of fascination, it starts in the early teens when just about every natural thin Adolescent Male has a ‘six pack’ and every young Women tends to appreciate it. This continues well into Adult life as more often than not o be classified as ‘in shape’ one must display a ‘six pack’. As far as attracting the attention of a member of the opposite sex, a nice set of toned Abs is often found to be amongst the most endearing physical qualities.
Kettlebell crunches, whilst performed in the same manner as performing Abdominal Crunches, do offer some additional benefits as the Kettlebell allows itself to be manoeuvred in a more efficient and difficult manner than a Dumbbell meaning an athlete can put extra strain on their Abs in a deliberate fashion.
The main Abdominal muscles which make up the famous ‘six pack’ function in a very basic manner but to exercise the Abs correctly strict form is required or other supporting muscles will take-over the movements. The basic breakdown of Abdominal functionality is that movements which bring your Legs up towards your Core involve the lower section of the Abdominal wall and the movements which bring your Core towards your Legs (such as a Sit-up or Crunch) involve the upper portion of the Abdominal wall.
Why Crunches Over Sit-Ups
The Kettlebell crunch allows an athlete to focus on the contraction of the upper abs and control it, the same control and deliberate contraction cannot be achieved whilst performing Sit-ups. As an athlete sits up the lower back muscles, Adductors, Abductors and Quadriceps all help propel the movement at different stages. Due to this very nature the Abdominal wall is not constantly contracted and is allowed to take a brief rest mid-set.
The intensity and control allowed by an athlete during a crunch movement is much more beneficial for Abs development and definition. Using a Kettlebell to apply the overload principle to your crunches will allow continual development as well as strength gains in the Abs. The stronger an Athletes Abs, the more support they have during compound lifting movements such as the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press.
How To Perform The Kettlebell Crunch
Lying with your back flat on the floor holding the kettlebell above you using both hands follow the basic instructions below;
1) Keep your Head straight at all time.
2) Using nothing but your upper Abs to shorten the distance between your head and core, sit up slightly.
3) Your lower back will never leave the floor, but allow your shoulder blades to leave the floor and curl upwards.
4) At the top of the movement deliberately squeeze the Abs hard forcing blood into the muscles.
5) Slowly reverse the movement with the Abs under constant control.
*At all times during Kettlebell Crunches (and any Abs exercise) be conscious of the inner Abdominal muscles and suck your Stomach inwards, this will help develop the vacuum effect made famous by the great Arnold Schwarzenegger*