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Lack of exercise and a sedimentary lifestyle, along with various other factors contribute towards the development of fat deposits in your body, especially around your tummy. As per studies, excess fat around the belly is considered to be more harmful than being overweight. This stubborn fat is not easy to get rid of. Studies reveal that belly fat can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, blood pressure and even cancer.
Reverently called 'love handles', belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. Measurements above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is known as abdominal obesity. Losing belly fat has impressive benefits for your health and can help you live longer. Although there are many means to lose fat, only a few works for belly fat   .
And here are some of the most effective, science-backed exercises that can help reduce belly fat  . We will be exploring the different types of crunches that are beneficial for the purpose. Take a look.
Crunches For Losing Belly Fat
Belly fat is composed of subcutaneous fat that lays under the skin and visceral fat, which exists deep inside the trunk and surrounds your internal organs. The visceral fat releases compounds that increase inflammation and contribute to a higher risk of disease, including cardiovascular conditions, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Belly fat is, in fact, a storage depot for excess calories. And the fat is stored in the fat cells in the form of triglycerides which is burnt when you engage in physical activities. And when you burn enough calories and don't replace them, you'll eventually lose the belly fat.
By doing crunches, along with that of a healthy diet and other physical activities, you can get rid of those excess and unwanted fat accumulated around your waist. We have gathered some effective crunches that could help burn some of that belly fat.
1. Regular Crunch
The basic or regular crunch is one of the most common types of abdominal exercises and is an effective part of the strength-training program. You need to be attentive of your form when you do crunches, especially if you have lower-back or neck problems.
- Lie on your back on an exercise mat.
- Plant your feet on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees and place your arms across your chest.
- Contract your abs and inhale.
- Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
- Inhale and return to the starting position.
2. Twisted Crunch
This type of exercise not only work on your upper and lower abdominals but also works on the abdominal oblique muscles. The twisted crunch works on the muscles on the side of your stomach.
- Lie flat on a floor mat on your back, with knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Place your hands behind your head or across your chest (Beginners should place them across the chest).
- Curl your torso towards your knees, lifting the shoulder blades off the ground.
- When curling up, twist so that one elbow is pointing at your knees.
- Hold the curled position and contract the abdominal muscles for 2 seconds.
- Repeat to the other side.
3. Bicycle Crunch
One of the major physical benefits of bicycle crunches includes weight loss. Regularly performing this form of exercise aid in muscles gain, strength, energy and power. The motion and moves involved in the bicycle crunch also help in gaining flattened and toned stomach by removing unnecessary layers of fat that make you look flabby.
- Start by lying on the ground, with your lower back pressed flat into the floor and your head and shoulders raised slightly above it.
- Place your hands lightly on the sides of your head; don't knit your fingers behind (be careful not to yank your head with your hands).
- Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee.
- Now switch sides and do the same motion on the other side.
4. Double Crunch
When performed correctly, the double crunch will effectively engage more core muscles than doing either abdominal crunch on its own. This two-in-one move will target your obliques, hip flexors, and rectus abdominis (also called the six-pack muscles).
- Lie on your back with hands behind your head and knees slightly bent.
- Curl your upper abs, by lifting your head and shoulders toward your legs.
- At the same time, slowly raise and curl your knees up, toward your chest.
- Exhale as you curl your body parts in, and then inhale as you go return to starting position.
5. Vertical Leg Crunch
The main purpose of this exercise, like classic crunches, is to strengthen and tone abdominal muscles. It is also equally beneficial in getting rid of your belly fat and does not require the use of any heavy or expensive equipment. Vertical leg crunches can strengthen lower as well as upper abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back on a mat and place your hands folded behind your neck.
- Bring your legs up, extending them perpendicular to the floor with knees slightly bent and keep your spine flat.
- Contract your abs in preparation for the lift.
- Then, begin by slowly curling your upper body, lifting your shoulder blades off of the floor and exhale on the upward motion.
- Keep your legs straight and pointed upward; don't let them sway or list to one side.
- Continue curling your body upward using your core muscles.
- When your shoulder blades are off of the floor, pause and hold the position a moment or two.
- Begin lowering the upper body by uncurling slowly.
- Inhale on the downward motion.
- Repeat for 12 to 16 sets.
6. Oblique Crunch
This exercise engages the abdominal wall and the obliques (muscles located on the sides of the abdominals) and helps to sculpt the waist. This exercise strengthens the back, tightens the core, tones the abs, and improves balance and flexibility.
- Begin by lying on your side, forearm down, knees slightly bent.
- Roll slightly back onto your glute, like your sitting on the back pocket of your blue jeans and lift legs a few inches off the mat.
- Bring the top hand behind the head so the elbow is also bent.
- Lift legs bringing your knees to your elbow while at the same time crunching your elbow toward your knee.
- Squeeze your waistline with each lift.
- Perform the desired number of reps and switch sides.
7. Raised Leg Crunch
Raised crunches are most beneficial when you perform them slowly. It is typically performed while lying on the floor or hanging from a chin-up bar or raised curve bar. Each one provides you with different benefits, but all help to increase the strength and definition you see in your lower abdominal muscles. Raised leg crunches are comparatively difficult and may take several months and many repetitions before you start to see the results.
- Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent in 90 degrees.
- Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor.
- Fold your arms and place them on the chest.
- Contract your abdominals so your lower spine flattens onto the floor.
- Then, slowly raise your upper back and shoulders off the floor while keeping your arms close to your chest.
- Crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis (lower part of the trunk of the human body between the abdomen and the thighs) and try to reach your thighs with your elbows.
- Once you have crunched as far as you can, hold the position for a second or two.
- Then slowly return to the starting position.
8. Reverse Crunch
One of the basic core strengthening exercises, reverse crunches help improve stability throughout the lower back, hips, and spine. The main purpose of this exercise is to provide your lower ab muscles with strength and flexibility.
- Lie down on the floor in a traditional crunch position, your feet bent at your knees and hands under your head or extend them at your sides.
- Press your lower back into the floor and lift your feet off of the ground.
- Keep your knees together, bent at 90-degree angle.
- Using your core (midsection that involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides), pull your knees to your chest.
- Return to the starting position without touching the floor with your feet.
Note: Starting a new exercise routine can be challenging. Therefore, it is important to get guidance from a trainer or an expert before you incorporate these into your routine.
On A Final Note…
There are many different types of physical activity to choose from. Find a few that work for you and be sure to mix between the different ones. The goal is to start slowly and let your body get accustomed to the routine. There is no benefit in rushing as exerting your body can only pose negative outcomes.
Apart from the aforementioned exercises, you should also adopt a healthy diet and cardiovascular exercises to achieve your goal.
-  Lilly, R. (2018). Probiotics and weight-loss.
-  Lamb, T. (2018). Flat Belly Fix Review: How To Lose Belly Fat.
-  Ladon, J. (2017). Top Workout Fails Of The Week: A Slamming Crunch To The…. POWER, 30(2018).