Friday, November 2, 2012
Article # 3. Abdominal Exercise - Captain's Chair Crunch
Captain Chair Abdomen exercise
The captain's chair ab exercise is one of the best and most effective methods for strengthening your abdominals. The captain's chair ab exercise is performed on a standard piece of equipment found in most gyms. Using it to strengthen your abdominals is easy.
The "abs" consists of the rectus abdominals, transverse abdominis, and inner and outer obliques. The rectus abdominis is the large muscle centered between the chest and pelvis, and the oblique’s run down the sides of the stomach in a diagonal direction. With ab workouts, your goal is to target as much of this muscle fiber as possible for full development. The captain's chair leg raise is a good exercise for obtaining this achievement.
Performing the captain's chair ab exercise is easy to perform and extremely effective. According to the American Council on Exercise, the captain's chair exercise ranks second highest of all ab exercises for rectus abdominis activity and in first place for oblique recruitment. It strengthens the rectus abdominus as well as the internal and external obliques.
To use the captain's chair, step up to the chair with your back firmly against the back support. Hold the rails. With a controlled motion, raise your knees to your chest and then lower them slowly. Do this for about 10-15 reps in one to three sets.
The most important part of using the captain's chair is that all movement must be controlled. Swinging your legs or relying on momentum significantly decreases the effectiveness of the exercise and can lead to injury.
Keep your knees bent. Straight legs focus more on hip flexors than abdominals. Since your hip flexors tend to be one of the strongest muscle groups in the body, performing hip flexor strengthening exercises without paying attention to balance throughout the entire core can lead to back pain. One of the leading causes of back pain is an imbalance between hip flexor strength and the strength of the remaining core muscles.
Support proper posture and form by keeping your back flat against the pad. Don't arch your back.
The captain's chair is a bodyweight-oriented machine. This does not mean you cannot add resistance with your workouts. You just have to get creative. Either strap ankle weights to your lower legs or pinch a dumbbell or medicine ball between your shins when you do exercises. Ankle weights generally range from five to 10 lbs., and you can adjust the resistance in 1/2-lb. increments by sliding small weights into compartments. Once you are able to do 20-plus reps with any captain's chair exercise, it is a good indicator that you need more resistance.