Crunch Exercises for Ab Workouts
Traditional vs Functional Methods

Common crunch exercises are 1) Traditional Crunch, 2) Oblique Crunch, and 3) Reverse Crunch.


Old School Crunches

The traditional crunch is the ab exercise that most of us are familiar with. The crunch is different from the traditional sit-up in that the lower back stays on the floor. 

By keeping your back flat on the floor, you can isolate the abdominals more and lessen the use of the hip flexors. 

From resent research, it's believed that repeated spinal flexion can harm your spine and lead to injury of the back. 

Crunch Exercises for Abs

The curl-up exercise is a safer alternative to ab crunching. 

The key points to the ab curl-up are...

1. Brace the abs. This is neither tightening or hollowing out the abdominal wall. Brace your stomach as if you were about to get punched in the gut. 

2. Don't draw the abs in. Drawing in can actually lessen the work done be the transverse abdominis (an important six pack ab muscle).

3. Curl against the brace. Breathe deeply at the top. Take about 6 to 8 seconds of breathing while you are at the top of the movement. You don't want to be holding your breath. This is a common mistake. You want to keep breathing slowly and deeply.

4. Only the head and upper shoulders come off the floor. Motion is at the thoracic spine, not the lumbar or cervical area.


Other Variations of Crunch Exercises

The Swiss ball is a device commonly used for crunching abs. 

Other crunch exercises include the oblique crunch, crossover crunch, v crunch, bicycle crunch, and stability ball crunch.

V-Up Crunch

Also called the V-up, the V crunch has the advantage of working the upper and lower abs together all in one exercise. 

Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch works the obliques in a safer way than the more old school ways of training the obliques such as oblique crunches on the floor. If you're finding you need help improving your posture, the reverse crunch is arguably the best way to strengthen the obliques and rectus abdominis.


Smarter Ab Training

Building a six pack isn't just about crunching. 

There are 3 types of movements that are commonly trained for a six pack... 1) Flexion, 2) Extension, and 3) Rotation. 

Flexion Exercises

The traditional crunch exercise is referred to as a flexion movement because you are flexing (contracting) your abs. The problem is you're also flexing the spine when you crunch. This is why many trainers favor crunches over sit-ups. Sit-ups bring your lower back up off the floor while flexing the spine. Crunches help keep the lower back flat and stable on the ground. 

Back Extension Exercises

Back extension exercises work the muscles opposite to the abs. Back extension strength is important for muscular balance. You don't want agonist/antagonist muscles out of balance. Too much flexion (crunching) without enough extension will lead to muscular imbalances of opposing muscle groups. 

Core Exercises with Rotation

Exercising diagonally allows you to work your muscles in multiple planes. The rectus abdominis (abs) and spinal erectors get a chance to work together as a unit while the torso flexes and extends when rotating. 


Anti-Extension Exercises (Non Crunch Exercises)

Anti-extension exercises aren't crunching exercises. These exercises don't bring your shoulders closer to your hips. They don't bring your hips closer to your shoulders. 

Anterior core muscles (your six pack muscles) don't actually crunch. These aren't the action of these muscles you see in the mirror. 

What your anterior core muscles actually do is prevent you from going into extension. 

Example of a good anti-extension exercise is the Stability Ball Roll Out.

During this exercise, it's important to fire the glutes as you roll out. Here, we're focusing on core stability. You shouldn't see any motion flexing or extending of the spine. Here, you have the anterior core musculature doing exactly what it's supposed to do. 

The anterior core muscles are preventing you from going into extension. This is why it's called a anti-extension exercise. Preventing the spine from going back and preventing the pelvis from rotating.


Crunch Exercises Related Pages

Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch improves posture for ab workouts. Too many sit-ups and crunches create back pain and injury. Reverse crunches correctly train the rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques...

Five Killer Oblique Exercises
Oblique exercises for getting six pack abs. Five best exercises and killer workout for a tapered waistline. Cable wood chops, medicine ball twist, side plank raises, high knee oblique crunches...

Oblique Training Myth
Oblique crunches and the best way to train the obliques. Creating a leaner waist by losing body fat around the love handles and adding muscle to the internal external obliques...


Crunch Exercises

Recent Articles

  1. Advanced Ab Workout

    May 01, 18 09:19 PM

    Advanced ab workout and common mistakes when it comes to ab training. Learn how to exercise the core and the correct movements for building abdominal strength. Shred the muscles of the mid-section...

    Read More

  2. Killer Ab Workout

    May 01, 18 09:13 PM

    Killer ab workout that can be done at your own pace. This will absolutely crush your abs, but there are beginner variations. Do this ab workout and your abs will be on fire...

    Read More

  3. Crunches Ab Workout

    Apr 29, 18 11:27 AM

    Crunches ab workout and three easy steps to performing the crunches correctly. If you want results, technique is critical. Many people make the mistake of not isolating the abs and use momentum while…

    Read More