By healthiergang writer , personal trainer.
Reverse Ground Crunch
Before talking about the reverse crunch, its correct execution, the primary and secondary muscles it involves, it is important to make a premise.
You always hear about "lower abdomen", "upper abdomen" in the gym. Let's dispel this myth as the abdomen is a single muscle called "rectus abdominis", divided by several tendon intersections; therefore, during the execution of the various exercises, we can speak of muscle emphasis.
The abdominal muscles, which are the main flexors of the trunk, join the ribs to the pubis and have a vertical course of the muscle fibers. Consequently, the training movement of this muscle must be approaching on both sides.
Based on what has been said, all the various exercises such as crunches, sit ups, reverse crunches and various variations, do nothing but stimulate the entire rectus abdominis, emphasizing more work in specific areas.
How is it done?
For a correct position:
- lie down in supine decubitus (with your back on the ground), on an exercise mat or on the appropriate bench;
- hands stretched out at the sides or clinging to the handles of the same;
- lower limbs parallel and slightly bent;
- thighs perpendicular to the ground.
Having assumed the correct position, descend with the thighs until reaching 45 °, return to the starting position and slightly raise the lumbar area.
Muscles involved in the reverse crunch to the ground
The muscles involved in the execution of this exercise are: large rectus abdominis, obliques of the abdomen, transverse abdominis, psoas iliaco.
It is important to remember to keep the execution time low, focusing attention on performing the exercise as correctly as possible.
It is essential to remember that the legs perform the function of ballast.
Extending them completely only increases the difficulty level of the exercise and moves the work on the iliac psoas and quadriceps.
Keeping them more flexed reduces the load and consequently the difficulty and perceived fatigue.
To Increase the Difficulty
To increase the difficulty of the exercise you can:
- fully extend the legs;
- add weight to the legs through the use of anklets, dumbbells or cables;
- tilt the bench;
- use variants.
These variants are recommended for more experienced athletes who are able to control the movement to the maximum and in the most correct way possible.
If done correctly, this is an excellent exercise for stimulating and emphasizing the muscular work of the sub-navel of the abdomen.
The most frequently made mistakes in performing this exercise are:
- poor movement control;
- perform the rebound movement, helping the execution;
- detach the pelvis too much from the ground or from the bench, keeping adherence only with the shoulder blades;
- move all the work to the psoas and quadriceps;
- use of a low or excessive weight for one's potential.
Variations to the classic reverse crunch can be:
- reverse crunch with knees to chest;
- scissors with the legs;
- reverse crunch to parallels;
- reverse bar crunch;
- reverse crunch on the backrest.
Also in this case all these variants are recommended for more experienced athletes, and even here, to increase the level of difficulty, you can use anklets or dumbbells.
Reverse Crunch And Ileopsoas
The Ileopsoas takes its name from the two muscles of which it is composed, namely the great psoas and the iliacus.
This muscle originates from the lumbar vertebrae and inserts anteriorly into the pelvis on the lesser trochanter of the femur.
The function of this powerful muscle is to flex the hip thus bringing the femur closer to the trunk or the trunk to the femur (eg sit up and reverse crunh).
Being, as mentioned, responsible for the flexion of the hip, the iliopsoas is a muscle that is involved in many activities and this tends to encourage its shortening and the maintenance of this condition.
The shortening of this muscle leads to an increase and to determine "lumbar hyperlordosis", since, as already explained, originating from the lumbar vertebrae, when it shortens it drags the vertebrae forward and downwards.
In the long run, therefore, this phenomenon can lead to the appearance of problems such as hyperlordosis or herniated discs, in the case of use of very high loads.
In the case of the reverse crunch, you must pay close attention to the correct execution of the exercise as the activation of the psoas is greatly encouraged by the type of movement required by the reverse crunch.
A simple way to understand if during the execution there is excessive activation of the psoas, is to check and focus attention on the arching of the lumbar area and its detachment from the bench.
If the back is excessively arched and the abdomen prominent outward, the work will shift from the rectus abdominis to the psoas.
Generally this occurs when the fatigue is excessive, in the abdominal area, and due either to the use of an excessive load or to the high number of sets or repetitions.
A tip to remember
Based on the above, the advice I can give is the following.
Neophyte / Inexperienced Athlete
Perform the reverse crunch on a flat bench or exercise mat, keeping the legs flexed, do not use overloads, perform 2 to 4 series, between 20 and 40 repetitions maximum, recovery times between 30 seconds up to 1 minute, slow repetitions and check.
When the rectus abdominis is strengthened and there is no particular difficulty in performing 4 sets of 40, to increase the difficulty it is possible to extend the legs, use loads, tilt the bench and use the other methods listed above.
Perform the reverse crunch on an incline bench (the higher the incline, the greater the difficulty) using overloads; perform from 3 to 5 series and between 20 and 40 repetitions, slow and controlled, make recovery times between 15 and 30 seconds up to 1 minute depending on the goal to be achieved.
You can also insert all the variants listed above, crunch on the back, on the bar, on the parallel bars and finally it is also possible to work in super series such as:
- reverse crunch on inclined bench with SS plank weight: 4 × 30/40 + 30 ”iso;
- reverse crunch to the bar SS scissors: 4 × 30/40 + 30 "scissors.
Do not forget, then, that doing a thousand abdominal exercises or a thousand repetitions per set does not make you lose weight, nor do they shrink the belly.
If you want to encourage slimming in the abdominal belt, it would be ideal to use circuits such as SR or to use active recoveries such as jumping rope for the programmed recovery time.