I wrote last week about an exercise for the rectus abdominis that I like called Six Pack On A Block. Here is another one, aptly titled, Arms Up-Legs Up. It is similar to last weeks in that it is a sustained crunch.
I got into teaching this pose in between backbends, most often wheel, a while back. All too many people shorten rather than lengthen the spine and its muscles when doing backbending poses. This shape makes lengthening the spine in backbends more accessible.
Sustained Crunch: Arms Up-Legs Up
- Lay flat on your back
- Bring your legs up in the air as close to 90 degrees as possible.
- Reach your arms up and the then lift the trunk slowly towards your legs.
- Make sure to reach your trunk towards the legs and not the legs towards the trunk.
- The work should be in the sit-ups muscle, the rectus abdominis.
- The effort in the pose should be in the belly, not the neck. The neck should lengthen and the throat should shorten.
- If the work is too much in the neck interlace your fingers behind your head for support.
At the risk of repeating myself for the umpteenth time, the rectus abdominis is a complicated muscle that usually needs to shorten. But it shouldn’t do this before the other abdominal muscles are equally strong. The rectus abdominis tends to have more tone and work harder than the other abdominal muscles even though it needs to shorten.