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Weekly Cup of Joe - 1st Episode - 1st Episode - Modified Crunch & GO BIG

Weekly Cup of Joe - 1st Episode - 1st Episode - Modified Crunch & GO BIG

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Hi everybody, happy Wednesday! And welcome to your first episode of your Weekly Cup of Joe. My name is Joe King, I'm the owner and a Physical Therapist at Physical Therapy Advantage in North Aurora. So I just want to get into this right away. Our first question comes from one of my former clients, Jerry, who asks " I've been having trouble doing full sit-ups, but I know I need to work on my core and my abdominal strengths. So do you have any suggestions?” Without seeing how you do everything Jerry, I'm going to take a guess on this, but I'm going to say that we might want to try working on a modified crunch. I'm going to show you that here in a second. So like I said, we're going to do a little bit of a modified crunch here. 

So you can do this on your bed, you can go on the floor, you can throw a mat down, a yoga mat or anything you want. Get down into a position where you're lying flat on your back and your knees are bent in a comfortable position. Then the next thing you want to do is, kind of do this in a phase, but there's some sequencing to it and there are some points of emphasis. So one is you're going to bend your ankles. For the next one, you're going to want to think about gently pulling your heels gently into the floor or into that mat. So you're going to activate your hamstrings to inhibit any hip flexor work, so you're going to gently pull down into the floor. I don't want you to pull so hard that you cause a cramp, but definitely want you to pull your legs into it as if you were pulling your heels back, but you're going to pull down on the floor.

The next thing you're going to want to do is you want to engage your abdominal region. You don't want to flatten your back out, you don't want to arch, but you want to just engage your abdominals; tighten up your stomach muscles before you even do your sit-ups. So you want to keep those things contracted, you want to be pulling your heels down into the floor, you want to keep your stomach muscles contracted before you start. Get that going first, and then you can put your hands anywhere you want to. You can put your hands across your chest, you can put your hands behind your back or behind your head, that is, you can put 'them on the front, people do. You can even put your hands on your thighs and slide them up. That's what I'll show you first here is, dig heels in, tighten your stomach muscles, and you're just going to slide up. And that's all the farther you have to go. 

The big point is keeping your abs tight and digging in as you go up and as you go down. I prefer to do it with my arms crossed here. That's all the higher you have to go, you just barely get your shoulder blades up off the floor by keeping your abs tight as you go up and as you go down and you're doing that crunch position or crunch motion, you'll isolate those abdominal regions and you'll get a lot stronger. Repetitions don't matter, you want to do five repetitions, 10 repetitions, one set, two set, or three set; that really doesn't matter either. Most importantly, it's quality over quantity. Good technique beats everything you want to remember. Just increase it and gradually the number of repetitions, the number of sets; that doesn't matter either. Take it nice and slow, don't want to strain the neck. Keep that relaxed, but keep your abs tight as you go up and as you go down, dig those heels in all the time to activate your hamstrings so you're not using your hip flexors to do that motion and all will be good. 
Thanks Jerry for that question. And lastly, before we end here, I challenged you last week to work on a theory of mine or a topic that I like to work on is going BIG and an idea. And I hope everybody got to do that, but for those that did not, or those that struggled, we're going to work on it for the next week as well. I want you to go BIG, And by BIG, I mean, Beginning In Gratitude. I want you to wake up every morning, I want you to think about something you're grateful for or extremely thankful for. I want you to write it down, tell somebody, hold yourself accountable for it, be consistent, and really try to stay in that positive mindset for the week. I hope you can do that. 

Also, thank you to those people that have sent in their questions, keep doing so because that's how this segment's going to keep going. Thanks, Jerry, for the first one, but if you have any health, wellness, or PT-related questions you want to be answered, please send them to j.king@ptadvantagepc.com. And we'll keep answering these questions every Wednesday morning for as long as we can go. All right. Thank you very much. And we'll see you next Wednesday for your Weekly Cup of Joe.

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