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LAVERA STEWARTEditor-in-Chief of the Gym Expert
Growing up, we were listening to our parents telling us that every bad situation comes with something positive. Honestly, we find it a tad annoying. At least, we did until the pandemic. “What on earth do you see as positive in the pandemic”, you may say, and you wouldn’t be the only one. Indeed, the pandemic turned our lives upside down on many levels and brought plenty of negative stuff. However, at the same time, many people began to take more care of their health and exercise more. It is something that we see as a positive effect.
Now, we are aware that maintaining a workout routine isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Even the biggest fitness junkies can become bored of repeating the same exercises day after day, let alone beginners. That can be dangerous because it might lead to total loss of motivation, and then all the previous efforts will be in vain. To prevent this from happening, we have to change continually and introduce new things to our routine. But, as a beginner, it is unlikely that you are skilled in figuring out what can be good for you.
Fortunately, we are here to help out! Today, we chose to talk about a workout for abdominal muscles: weighted crunch exercise. Plenty of people wish to have toned and strong abs mainly because they are pleasant for the eye. Then, as everyone knows, they play a critical role in performing even the most basic daily activities. But, building strong abdominals isn’t an easy task. It is probably one of the most challenging things because you need to do thousands of reps to get where you want to be. Who wouldn’t get tired of so much repeating? But, if you start doing weighted ab exercises the results will be much quicker and impressive.
So with that said, let’s see what weighted crunches are, and how to do them!
- 1 What Are Weighted Crunches
- 2 How to Do Weighted Crunches
- 3 What Equipment Can You Use for Weighted Crunches?
- 4 General Tips When Doing Ab Exercises
- 5 Conclusion
What Are Weighted Crunches
You have probably tried to do standard crunches for belly fat, or you saw someone doing them. But in case you haven’t, let us first clarify what crunches with weights are.
These exercises are generally considered a cornerstone of the abdominal workout program. The main target is the rectus abdominis, known as the abdominal muscle. This muscle plays several crucial roles in the body. First of all, it is responsible for moving the trunk in different directions. Then it plays a critical role in stabilizing the spine and creating a strong abdominal wall. Finally, it controls the movements of the pelvis, which affects the spine. Thus, when you learn how to do the crunches properly, you will do much more than engage the rectus abdominis and muscles around the spine.
Okay, but what about weighted crunches? Well, weighted abdominal crunches are simply a variation of standard crunches. By adding weight you just improve the process to get more results, when the regular crunches are not as effective anymore. Other than that, weighted crunches target the same muscles as classic exercises. But, adding the weights will make you work slower, which is safer and finally more effective than doing countless reps.
Should You Incorporate Weighted Crunches for Abs into Your Workouts?
Well, whether to do abs crunches with weights or without is entirely up to you. For muscles to become toned and strong, they must contract. And any exercise, as long as you do it properly, will be beneficial for the muscles. Now, in the gym, many of us do various things independently from one another. You will notice that many people include just a few dumbbell crunch reps at the end of the session.
And beginners often believe that they need to do more complex and demanding exercises to get the desired results quickly. Thus, they usually choose plenty of reps of crunch hold flutter kicks to speed up the process of muscle strengthening.
However, much like any exercise, you won’t get as many results if you don’t follow the correct technique. Usually, in the beginning, you need to do these workouts with a professional trainer, and then slowly progress to performing crunches with weight yourself.
Can Weighted Crunches Be a Belly Fat Burner?
Even people who exercise sometimes have a problem getting rid of belly fat. It is the most persistent fat and the most problematic because it is linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, etc. That is why a lot of people work to lose it.
And we tend to think that doing weighted ab crunches will help us say goodbye to the annoying visceral fat. But the thing is that it is not the purpose of abs exercises. They are mainly designed to strengthen the core and abdominals. If we are talking about losing visceral fat, even if you are doing crunches with weights, that alone will not be enough. Because if you do this exercise your belly fat will be more visible once your muscles grow. So if you want a more chiseled and toned belly, you also need to lose some of that belly fat.
Now, the good thing is that weighted crunches are actually great for burning calories. For example, with standard abs workouts, average women will lose about 70 calories in 10 minutes. An average man will burn about 86 calories. If you are doing an abs workout with weights, you will burn even more calories. But to actually lose belly fat effectively, you will have to change your diet and include other exercises to back up the effect of the crunches with weights
Weighted Vs. Non-Weighted Crunches
Comparing weighted vs. nonweighted crunches isn’t simple. The truth is whether you are doing crunches with weight ball or crunches with dumbbells, you will perform the exercises at a slower pace. In general, this means that you will be having a safer and better workout. Besides that, there are few other benefits of weighted crunches:
- You can train in lower rep ranges.
- They help core muscles grow and appear more defined.
- Increase the strength of abs.
Weighted Crunches Overall Benefits
- Generally, adding weight when performing any exercise helps you get stronger. It is the same with upper ab exercises like crunches. According to the study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a high load resistance always gives better results.
- Muscles also grow faster when you include weights in your workout program. However, that doesn’t mean that you should force yourself to lift super heavyweights. The best thing is to find a balance between the moderate weight and the number of reps.
- Upper ab exercises enable muscular failure, which stimulates muscle growth. To achieve muscular failure, you’re supposed to do reps in your last session, as long as you reach the point where you can’t physically perform the exercise.
How to Do Weighted Crunches
- Lay stretched on the floor with your legs bend 90 degrees.
- Hold the weight above your chest.
- Breathe out as you lift yourself.
- Contract your muscles and then slowly go back to the starting position.
What Equipment Can You Use for Weighted Crunches?
You can do weighted ab exercises in several different ways. For example, we prefer working out with a medicine ball and dumbbells/kettlebell. But there are other options as you will notice. Also, keep in mind that different people can use different equipment by their fitness levels.
You can do crunches with a medicine ball. If you opt for this variation, you will see an improvement in your arm and shoulder strength. But your core muscles are also going to work hard because the medicine ball is quite heavy. To do this exercise, you need to:
- Lie down and hold the ball above you.
- With your arms fully extended, raise your torso.
- As you return to the starting position, put the ball behind your head so it touches the ground.
- It is excellent for people who want to increase their arm and shoulder strength.
- You can train with it in the gym and at home.
- Effective for strengthening the core
- Not very versatile.
- If you don’t hold it properly there is a high risk of injuries
- Start by lying down and holding the weight on you.
- As you are raising the torso, lift the weight as high as you can.
- Pause for a bit after you reach the maximum, and then slowly go back.
- Equipment is easily accessible.
- Excellent for rectus abdominis muscle.
- People of all fitness levels can do it.
- If the load is too heavy there is a risk of injury.
- Take lightweight dumbbell and lie on your back.
- Contract the core as much as possible as you are bringing the legs and weight together.
- Stay in that position for a few seconds and then slowly go back.
- Heavy resistance exercise.
- Excellent for abs and core
- Can be challenging for beginners.
- Create a balanced diet plan: As we said several times, if you want to get those beautiful and strong abs, weighted crunches alone aren’t enough. You need to change your diet, and that usually means eating more protein and fewer carbs. It’s also better to eat veggies that are high in fiber and vitamins.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking water is incredibly beneficial when you want to get rid of belly fat. That’s because water improves digestion and helps nutrients reach different parts of the body.
- Pay attention to the form: It is something essential when doing all sorts of exercises, not just the abs. Because when you don’t assume proper form you risk getting injured.
- Make sure to do variations: As we mentioned at the beginning, people often get bored with continual repetition. Adding variations to your routine will help with that. Besides, the more you repeat the same thing, the more you are at risk of hitting a plateau.
- Do some cardio: Over and over we’ve seen proof that cardio is a perfect option for when you want to lose weight, especially visceral one.
Pros & Cons
Plates or Kettlebell
If you have a plate or kettlebell, you can do weighted crunch reach. Keep in mind that it is better to start with lighter weights. The exercise gets harder as you are adding weight. And to perform these high crunches you have to:
Pros & Cons
If you have dumbbells, you can also do a dumbbell pullover crunch.
Pros & Cons
General Tips When Doing Ab Exercises
Overall, weighted crunches are very similar to standard crunches. The biggest difference is that this type of exercise is more challenging because of the added weight. And yes, performing them at the beginning will be rather challenging, however, with enough determination and practice, they will help you reach your body goals so much faster. But remember – this is a rather challenging workout that puts pressure on your muscles. Hence, always remember to do light (!) stretching before you do weighted crunches. That way you’ll relax your muscles, get the blood flowing and prevent injuries.
So, have you done any crunches so far? Do crunches work for you?