Select the appropriate resistance.
Sit down on the ab machine placing your feet under the pads in a shoulder-width position. Grab the top handles while maintaining your hands, shoulders, knees and feet at one level.
Keep your body upright. Contract your abdominal muscles and pull your shoulders towards your knees. Inhale in the starting position and exhale upon contraction. Repeat as many times as required.
Choose the resistance to match your abilities and fitness level. Start with lighter resistance to master the technique well.
Make sure your shoulders, knees and feet are at one level.
Focus on your abdominal breathing.
Throughout the whole exercise, focus on the targeted contraction of your abdominal muscles.
Repeat the exercise with a frequency matching your breathing cycle and make sure you can feel the abdominal muscles contracting. The motion should be slow. You can also choose not to release the contraction completely with every repetition and keep the pressure during the whole set.
This is an exercise with maximum isolation (involving one muscle and limiting the movement to a specific trajectory from which it’s practically impossible to deviate due to the design of the machine) – the alternative is Kneeling Cable Crunch, which is more of a “hardcore” exercise.
Although the machine crunch looks completely safe, it isn’t. Back injuries are common and the weight used must not be very high.
Do not use weights with which you are not able to do at least 20 repetitions.
Breathe out on contraction and breathe in on extension.