People are always looking for ways to make exercises more productive or quicker. This crunch variation will hit two areas that are frequently neglected, or not worked hard enough, abs and grip. We all know why working abs are important, but grip is a mystery to many. Having a strong grip helps in many sports from golf to football to rock climbing, and everything in between. We are going to attack these two areas at the same time.
To do this we will do what is called a gripper crunch. Two pieces of equipment are needed, a Swiss ball, and a hand gripper. The gripper should be a captains of crush variety (http://www.ironmind.com/).
COC’s come in 5 levels of difficulty, trainer, 1, 2, 3, and 4. we suggest you start with a trainer. The sporting goods store grippers will not be nearly as effective as COC’s, but if it’s all you have, use them.
To do the exercise, lie on a Swiss ball as if you were going to do a traditional ball crunch. Take your gripper and squeeze it closed, now keep it squeezed as hard as you can and begin performing crunches. Switch hands with the gripper after a few reps and go again. Do the same amount on both sides. We suggest 3 sets of 20 to start, performing 5 reps of crunches with one hand, switching grippers, do another 5, switch hands, and repeat. Most people won’t be able to keep the gripper squeezed for too long, so we advise switching hands.
These are much harder than they sound. You will feel a very strong abdominal contraction because of what is called radiational tension. Radiational tension is caused by squeezing your hands as hard as you can, which allows you to contract other muscles harder. Give it a try, you’ll see.