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How to Do the Combo Crunch

An Exercise for the Abdominals

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Updated June 25, 2008

The combination or combo crunch is performed while lying on the floor. The bent knees are bought up toward the stomach while at the same time the shoulders are lifted from the floor. Both movements emphasize the abdominal muscles.

If you need more guidance on weight training please refer to the beginner's guide.

1. The Starting Position

Combo Crunch Starting Postion
Photo: (c) Paul Rogers / Cooloola Fitness
  1. Lie on your back on the ground on a suitable exercise mat or towel.
  2. Legs should be bent at the knees, and crossed at the ankles if this assists you in the leg lift (see photo). Crossed ankles are not essential.
  3. You can start with feet resting on the floor or slightly elevated as in the photo.
  4. Hands can be clasped behind the head or folded across the chest, or even extended beyond the head if you want to make the exercise exceptionally difficult.
  5. Brace the abdominal muscles but don't hollow in the stomach.
  6. Inhale, ready for the exercise movement.

2. The Exercise Movement

Doing the Combo Crunch
Photo: (c) Paul Rogers / Cooloola Fitness
  1. Lift the bent knees upward toward the chest, while at the same time curling the shoulders forward so that the shoulder blades are clear of the surface.
  2. If you use the hands clasped behind the head, try not to push the head forward. Keep the head steady and use the arms for balance rather than to assist the lift. This will concentrate the muscle contraction in the abdominal area where it should be.
  3. Don't swing the legs too far toward the head and don't jerk them upward. Both leg and shoulder movements should be smooth and controlled to emphasize abs contraction.
  4. Hold for a few seconds, then lower shoulders and legs to the ground with the same controlled movement and at the same time.
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