Updated: Feb 8, 2020
This is by far my favorite move within the entire Polykinetics method. --It's simplistic, fast-acting, hygienic, small-space friendly, easily adaptive with the capacity to be customized from one participant to another based of their abilities and physical needs. --Just remember two little steps and....voila!
--No more doing out-dated crap that only wastes energy instead of helping to generate it. The vertical core crunch exercise is nothing really new, but it is highly under utilized for this day and age. So, I am going to continue to throw in a few posts here and there to remind you there is a better way to work the core and upper body muscle groups and it all starts from being in a relaxing standing position with your feet shoulder width apart.
**The following was taken from my original blog post from 2015**
The vertical core crunch exercise (VCC) is the most heavily used move within Polykinetics out of any other 2 moves put together. This is because in Polykinetics the primary focus is on the core of the body. --Not only building muscle, but to optimize blood flow and circulation, as well as, increasing oxygen intake to the muscles and brain; allowing you to reap all physical and mental benefits at the very same time WITHOUT complication.
In this post I will explain what a Polykinetics vertical core crunch exercise is. How to do a VCC? Plus, a few different VCC kinetic variations; that allow you to engage more muscle groups by incorporating the upper body or lower body in very strategic ways or readjusting your center gravity.
What is a VCC? –Similar in principle to the well-known, conventional crunch exercise, the biggest difference between the two stems from the changes with body stance, from laying down to standing upright, as well as, minimal body repositions that occur naturally as someone successfully performs this exercise movement. What these modifications allow is an equaled weight distribution between the left and right sides (known as: body balance). –The back is straight and hips are comfortably supporting the lower body with ease. Arms resting down at your sides. Simple!
**Posture/form quality and control is vital to the VCC’s effectiveness!
What are the biggest benefits of the VCC exercise?
The applied effort and energy required to do a VCC is a fraction of the energy required to do a conventional crunches. Meaning you are able to go more intense and for longer…building up your endurance as you strengthen your muscles than before! Two for the price of one per say.
The VCC offers a much more pragmatic body stance with less stress, strain and pressure applied to the neck and spine –IT’S SAFER!
Engages all of the core muscles, as well as, the upper back/lower back/chest muscles/shoulders and arms when specific variations are utilized and when they’re applied.
Increased oxygen intake to the brain, and helps to prevent hyperventilation; safe-guarding the respiratory system.
Improves motor skills, various types of coordination with physical and mental focus.
Decreases risk of joint injury or muscle straining due to its low impact and pragmatic design…and there are many more, but that gives you an idea.
How do you do a VCC?
The base VCC (arms not utilized) is quite simple really. Starting from a standing position with proper form in the back (lower body/legs remain isometric against the floor/ground), the upper body (top of the head to the bottom of the sternum) is lifted in an upward motion, and then, “crunched” downward in a controlled manner. The shoulders are moving in a slight “back and forth” motion at an equal speed and intensity as the core. –Motion is repeated as instructed for a particular period of time. Most "feel it" within 15 or so seconds.
What are some of the VCC exercise variations and different intensity levels? The VCC move has many variations which are categorized by numerical labels....ex. VCC 2, VCC 3, VCC 4, etc. ---In addition to VCC variations, Polykinetics also has three (3) self-regulating intensity levels:
J3 (highest) ....written in a kinetic breakdown as: (VCC 3/J2) which simply means to do the VCC move, #3 variation at a moderate applied-intensity level.
Here a few additional examples and basic explanations of the different VCC move variations and unique benefits each variation offers to your workout!
VCC 2 = Arms are bent at the elbow, hands tight in fists, and moving the arms forward and backward in sequence with the core. Benefit: This variation allows for increased oxygen and blood circulation, as well as, strengthening and toning of the shoulder muscles, under the arms, and chest muscles all at the same time.
VCC 3 = Leaning the body slightly forward, arms are tucked in tightly to the chest, fists under the chin and upper body is then lifted upward and crunched downward to either the left or right side; alternating from side to side! --Generally, making an "arch" movement with the torso and upper body. Benefit: Tones the sides of the core, strengthens the lower back, and infuses cardio-benefits when done at a particular speed.
VCC 4 = The arms are simply extended in front of you, elbows locked, hands = "fists", with the legs together and isometric. Upper body and arms are held in position as the core muscles "pulse" contract. There should be very minimal movements from the upper body and lower body. Benefit: Higher intensity core muscle contractions and increased muscle control.
VCC 5 = Similar to VCC 4, your arms still extended, but your hands are flat and positioned with one on top of the other and elbows locked. --Making a "V" or triangle shape with the arms. Shoulders will naturally move back and forth slightly with each core muscle contractions but the arms themselves maintain their isometric position. Benefit: Highest core muscle contractions and increased upper body muscle control. A form of isometric-resistance training.
Now... there are more VCC variations than what I have listed above that will be discussed, as well as, identifying the other base moves used in Polykinetics and their variations that could ultimately change how you workout and get healthy using the most simplistic, yet effective way possible!
Lastly, I do truly love this particular exercise because of how easy it is to initiate and maintain. I enjoy trying to do VCC workouts when I am doing other things such as, housework or waiting in line. It truly is one of my secret weapons when it comes to me maintaining my physical and mental wellness.