The goal of crunches is to strengthen your abs by connecting your rib cage to your pelvis. If you're new to crunches, you may feel the need to have your feet anchored to keep them from coming off the floor. The couch is perfect for doing just that for you if you wedge your feet beneath it. Plus, this way, you will have something productive to do during television commercials.
Don't do crunches too fast because you'll end up using your hip flexors more than your abs. If doing crunches with your feet under the couch causes your lower back to arch and hips to tilt back, you should avoid doing it.
Face your couch. Lie face up with your knees bent. Stick your feet under the couch so that they're flat on the floor and the bottom of the couch touches the arches of your feet.
Hold your hands behind your head with your elbows open and pointing toward your sides. Lengthen your back and avoid hunching by pulling your shoulder blades together and aligning your head with your spine. Make sure your entire spine is flat on the floor. If your lower back is arched, inch your body closer to the couch.
Tighten your abs to slowly lift you off the floor into a crunch at 30 degrees to the ground. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and your neck long. You may choose to hold this position briefly to work your abs longer while you're there.
Slowly lower, squeezing your abs for control, all the way back down to the floor as you started. Repeat the action for 15 to 20 reps.
- Don't do crunches too fast because you'll end up using your hip flexors more than your abs. If doing crunches with your feet under the couch causes your lower back to arch and hips to tilt back, you should avoid doing it.
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.