Movement Training Series #2: Crunches

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Hello Darlings!  I am back! I have returned to the glorious pages screen that is color guard educators. Of COURSE I missed you!

Yup, here I am.  My marching band season has drawn to a close, and as always, I am loving what some of our performers are putting out there…

[Err, yes, I may have marched in the days of china flats and gauchos.. A moment of silence as we thank the Good Lord and visual staff the world over for progress]

Ooh, and before I forget, a big ole shout out to those marching on to [yes, I had to go there, and you’re welcome] Grand Nationals!

A-hem.  Moving on..

We are back at that riveting always fascinating necessary topic, the Movement Block!

[ I know!]

So, here we are, all limbered up after our stretch routine.  And, thus, you say to me, “Now What, Oh Wise One Movement Chick?”

Well, heck, we’re down here on the floor already, let’s do some strength work, shall we?


Yes, I know, it is torture not everyone’s favorite, but that whole “necessary evil?” Yeah, here it is.

Now, I know that you wait anxiously for my words of wisdom meanderings and take notes so I am SURE you read the critically acclaimed mildly popular article referencing the importance of push-ups, yes?

{Clears throat}

Not so much?  Sigh.

Okay, it is linked here: Movement Mondays #2: Strength Training

After your performers complete their pushups and cease whimpering breathe, have them roll over and gaze at the ceiling.

Yes, boys and girls, it is time for Crunches. [Sit ups. Ab work.]  Call it what you will, it develops our core, and we love it do what we have to do.

{Interesting sidebar: while many people consider sit-ups and crunches to be one and the same, Lo, they are not! Sit-ups involve the hip flexor and the abdominal muscles, while crunches target ab muscles only. However, sit-ups put more stress on the back. Thus, yours truly recommends crunches.}

For those of you with time on their hands a thirst for technical knowledge, click this link for a concise explanation of the difference:

Okey doke. The thing is, you need basic crunches. But, that’s not all…You also need to aggressively target the oblique muscles [these run down the sides of the torso, and come in pairs; you have an internal set AND an external ~ {it’s a 2 for 1 deal!…oh wait, that is SO much more exciting when it involves shoes} and finally, the transverse abdominals. These are the “deep” guys ~ they act as a “girdle” of sorts around your torso, providing back support in addition to core stabilization.

So, smarty pants Movement Chick, how exactly do we GET to this plethora of ab muscles?

*Beams* So glad you asked!!

It’s quite simple, really. [Said from the chick with a Diet Coke in hand. and NO intention of doing these until rehearsals start]


Your basic crunches will target the “6-pack” muscles. Shoot for 25 at first, work it up to 50 ~

Go. Slow.

[I find it is preferable for ME to count the series…the performers long ago realized going faster gets gravity and momentum involved…thus, less muscle development. Alternatively, find a song which has a beat which works for this exercise, as your voice may falter right around crunch number 40…hypothetically of course]

Add a cross over to that crunch, and the internal obliques? Got em!. [Feeling crazy? Do a Bicycle Crunch] As the exercises get tougher, drop your reps down, but be sure to do the same number on each side, for proper symmetry.

Next?  The Arm Sweep ~ 1. Raise up into the crunch position, 2.Curse the very ground I walk on as you hold said position 3. Add an arm sweep ~ arms fully extended, slowly turning 90 degrees from center to the left, back to center, repeat to the right, then release.  This one gets at the external oblique muscles.

And finally, it’s time to visit the transverse abdominals, boys and girls, aka, the girdle

How do we get to this all important muscle, you may ask?  It’s the Plank.  That versatile, Pilates inspired movement which looks so dang easy until one is hanging out there, trying to hit the 60 second mark. Ouch!  [work up to that, pretty please]

Whew! I am flat out tired just THINKING about this floor series.

Do you have to do ALL of these?  Gosh no, it’s your rehearsal.  I will say, for the record, working all of the abdominal groups IS important and will result in a stronger core, better postural control and alignment, and potentially better performers, and this will be time well spent.  You know I wouldn’t lie to you ~

Until next time ~


the movement chick .

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Category: Instruction, Movement, Rehearsal Planning & Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Cheryl Myers (aka “The (self-proclaimed) Movement Chick”) is a movement instructor, adjudicator and would-be rockette, living in the Fingerlakes area of New York State. Primary affiliations include the New York Federation of Contest Judges, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. She has most recently worked with Trumansburg High School, and is continually blessed by the opportunity to consult and adjudicate for circuits around the country. In addition to her pageantry career, Ms. Myers works in the accounting and insurance fields, and yes, is great fun at parties, thankyouverymuch. Her primary job, and that which she is most proud of, is raising her two beautiful children, a future dancer and drummer.

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