The Ab Crunch Machine Benefits
The Ab Crunch Machine is a fantastic addition to a well-balanced workout program. You can find this machine in most commercial gyms, leisure centers, and fitness clubs.
Usually, this machine will come with a built-in weight stack as can be seen in the images and 3D Model attached.
This makes the machine very easy to adjust the weight being used and with that the load and difficulty of the exercise.
The machine itself might vary in style between locations, however, the fundamental action is always the same.
Flexing forward, or crunching, at the midsection.
This motion is mostly controlled by the Rectus Abdominis muscles, commonly referred to as 6 Pack Abs for their definitive segmented shape.
Although this crunching motion can be done using many other exercises it is very common for beginners to favor the Ab Crunch Machine because it has a built-in movement pattern.
Usually, a Gym beginner will not have the greatest motor control and coordination, Especially when trying to isolate a specific muscle group.
Most Gym machines have a built-in movement pattern making it very hard to use the machine at all without working the target muscle of the exercise…
In this case “Those 6 Pack Abs”.
Main Muscles Used During The Ab Crunch Machine Exercise
The main muscle used in the Ab Crunch Machine is the Rectus Abdominis Muscle group. One of the four primary muscles that make up “The Core”.
The Rectus Abdominis is specifically used for two notable actions.
1. When the lower half of the body is stable and your Abs contract, your rib cage will be pulled down towards the pelvis.
2. When your upper body is stable and your Abs contract, your pelvis is rotated and dragged up towards your ribcage.
Most Ab Crunch machines work by keeping your pelvis in a constant position and facilitating a hinge motion allowing you to crunch forward bringing your rib cage to lower down towards your pelvis.
However, some Ab Crunch machines are designed in such a way that the seat will also raise as you crunch forward.
At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and which machine you feel suits your proportions better.
In the specific machine used for this blog post, you sit in a constant position and raise your elbows onto the rest pads and hold the handles at about head height.
You use the handles and elbow pads to rotate the upper portion of the machine down toward your legs.
This motion results in your entire upper body crunching forward and your rib cage, and elbows, moving down towards your legs and pelvis.
If the machine is moving forward you can guarantee that the Abdominal muscles are working.
To make it harder, and to challenge your core, you can increase the load or increase the rep count.
Setting Up The Ab Crunch Machine:
Before you begin to strengthen your core it’s important to set the machine up correctly to avoid the risk of injury.
I have created a handy graphic below to help summarize the fundamental adjustments on most Ab Crunch Machines.
- Select the Correct Weight: Move the pin lower to go heavier. Moving the pin higher makes the load feel lighter.
- Foot Position: Keep your foot position neutral on the platform and fully planted.
- Grip The Handles: Most machines will have handles to grip. If not you can fold your arms across your chest.
- Elbow Pads: Use the Elbow Pads on the Machine if you can reach them while holding the handles.
How To Do The Ab Crunch Machine Exercise in 4 Simple Steps
- Select the Correct Weight: Sit on the machine with your lower back pressed firmly against the back pad.
- Foot Position: Place your feet on the platform, your elbows on the rest pads, and grip the handles.
- Grip The Handles: Starting in a fully stretched position with your back arched you should crunch your midsection by trying to drive your elbows to your knees.
- Elbow Pads: Try to mitigate all movement at the hip joint to keep all focus on your core.
Incorporating into your Workout Routine:
The Ab Crunch can be added to most workout routines.
They are ideally placed at the end of a workout routine as a finisher for the core muscle groups.
If you decide to pre-fatigue your core, and abdominals by doing lots of crunches before a workout you might not be able to complete your other lifts or exercises due to an already-trained core.
This might limit your ability to train and overload your other exercises.
Your core and abdominals will develop as you progress with your other lifts.
Especially if your other lifts involve trying to lift a heavy weight above your midsection.
Think how hard your core has to work to hold a 20kg Barbell on your back as you squat.
Now imagine how hard it is to work holding a 100kg Barbell on your back.
As your lifts get heavier, your core has to grow in strength and size to be able to handle the increased load.
You can perform Ab Crunches at the end of your workout to finish off your core muscles and make your 6 Pack muscles stand out that little bit better.
I usually advise my clients to do 2 or 3 sets in the 10-15 rep range.
The Abdominal Crunch Machine is a fantastic training tool you can easily find in most commercial Gyms.
The Abdominal machine is very useful for beginners to learn the flexing movement pattern.
It is also useful for more advanced lifters ready to stack on the weight.
While it might not be the best exercise for training the entire core muscle group it is a really good finisher to add in at the end of your regular workouts.
If you are a Gym Owner or Manager. This machine is one of the few machines most people will actively seek out when joining a Gym.
Alternatives to Ab Crunch Machine Exercise
A great alternative to the Ab Crunch Machine is the bodyweight crunch from the floor
This exercise is fantastic for training the same muscle group in the same motions as the machine variation.
The Ab Crunch is a bodyweight exercise. It is an ideal exercise to super set in any workout or perform on the move.
I would stress it is an important exercise to learn correctly as it can often result in back pain when overused or done poorly.