Everyone wants to “work their core” and have killer abs. But the truth is most people don’t learn how to properly engage all their intra abdominal muscles before attempting all their sit ups and crunches. First off, ditch sit ups and crunches all together because they are wasting your time.
Second, start by lying on the floor with your knees up and back on the ground. Place your hands on your stomach and inhale through your mouth trying to fill your belly with as much air as possible. Most people only fill up their chest with air, true belly breathing really gets the diaphragm engaged. Next, exhale all the air through your mouth as if you are blowing up a balloon. Do that about 10 times.
Third, take your hands and wrap them around your sides or “love handles”. Dig your fingers into your sides a little bit and then try to activate all your core muscles so that you can feel them pushing your fingers away. This is called bracing and is what you should feel anytime you do a core exercise. What I tell my clients is you should be bracing so that if I were to punch you in your core, you wouldn’t go anywhere.
From there I usually start clients with deadbugs. Knees up and slowly lowering one leg at a time. Then get the opposite arm reaching for that knee as you bring it back in. Slow and controlled with a braced core and feeling like you are pressing your lower back into the ground.