Machine Crunch Exercise Guide
A variety of machines, some more effective than others, have been developed to work the abs. Unfortunately, many are not well designed. Depending on the machine design, the resistance may be transmitted via handles or pads. A good machine lets you choose the precise level of resistance to place on your abs.
An ab machine can provide a welcome break if you grow tired of repeating the classic body weight crunch. This exercise is very good for beginners because it works the stomach muscles whilst in a seated position. Also, the abdominal crunch machine is the answer for people with neck and lower back problems who are advised against doing particular floor exercises. It works the same muscles without straining the back and neck.
Abdominal Machine Crunches Perfect Technique
Sit on the seat of an abdominal crunch machine and grab two top handles behind your head. Your arms should be bent at a 90 degree angle as you rest the triceps on the pads provided. Place your feet behind the lower roller pads.
*Depending on the machine’s design, your hands grasp handles alongside your head or simply rest on the chest pad.
From the start position, crunch forward and down with your abdominal muscles, curling your torso toward your knees. At the same time, begin to lift the legs up (if your abdominal machine has this option) as you crunch your upper torso. Return to the starting position without letting the resistance rest on the weight stack between repetitions.
Machine Abdominal Crunch Key Points to Remember
- Perform the movement slowly and while really focusing on using your abdominal muscles while performing each crunch.
- Do not add too much weight because when the abdominal crunch machine is too heavy, your tendency is to use momentum to move it.
- Avoid jerking and focus on performing one continuous and fluid movement.
The machine crunch belongs in the isolated, single joint exercise category. It does not recruit much of the muscle groups surrounding the abs and primarily targets the upper abdominal zone.
Main muscles: rectus abdominis (upper)
Secondary muscles: external and internal obliques, psoas, front quadriceps, transverse abdominal
Antagonists: spinal erectors, longissimus dorsi and other muscles along the spinal column, and lower back muscles
Machine Crunch Animation
Machine Crunch Variations
If you do not have access to an ab machine, you can use a high pulley to modulate resistance. Some home ab devices, such as the ab roller, are well designed and can replace machines. When an ab crunch machine isn’t available at your gym, try the Smith machine crunch.
If you don’t have access to an abdominal crunch machine, you could do floor crunches or decline sit-ups to work your upper abdominal muscles.