The Ultimate Guide to Exercise Crunch (Build Incredible Abs)

The crunch is one of the most popular abdominal exercises.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to do it correctly, its pros and cons, other exercises you can use in its place, and more.

Source: Brian Jones on Unsplash

Here’s everything you need to know about the move and whether it’s right for your training goals.

What is the Crunch exercise?

The move is a (usually) bodyweight exercise that targets your core muscles.

The core includes all of the abdominal muscles, which include: the transverse abdominals, the rectus abdominis and the obliques.

These muscles work together to stabilize your spine and pelvis during movement, so it’s important to strengthen them with different types of exercises if you want to improve your body composition and prevent injury.

How to Do a Crunch

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Inhale and prepare your heart.
  • Slowly lift your torso off the ground.
  • Keep your neck aligned with your spine as you do this exercise and continue to breathe normally throughout.
  • At the top, with your abs tight, pause for a second and then lower back down to the starting position.

Benefits of Crunch

This is a core strengthening exercise that will help you improve your posture, relieve back pain and increase abdominal muscle tone.

It also improves flexibility and balance while reducing the risk of injury. The crunch also helps with weight loss because it burns calories while you perform the exercise.

What muscles does the crunch work on?

The move is a great upper body exercise that targets the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

It also works your hip flexorsquadriceps, buttockdeltoids and other small muscles.

Is the Crunch a good exercise?

If you’re looking for a core exercise, movement may be for you.

It’s a great way to strengthen and tone your midsection, especially if done correctly.

However, they can also cause injury if performed incorrectly, so it’s important to know not only how but also why before starting any new workout routine, including this one!

Crunch vs. Sit Up: What’s the Difference?

  • Bite: This exercise targets the abs more
  • Sit down: This exercise works the abs, hip flexors and some leg muscles.

The two are often used interchangeably, but they are different exercises.


The movement can be performed in several ways, usually depending on the equipment available.

two people doing absSource: RODNAE Productions by Pexels

For example, if you have a medicine ball to use for resistance, you can perform the crunch with your feet on the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees. This variation is known as a side crunch and involves rotating at the waist so that one shoulder is lower than the other while lying flat on your back.

When you use dumbbells instead of a medicine ball, this exercise becomes known as the weighted crunch or the superman crunch because it requires you to lift both legs into a bent position.

If you’re using cables instead of weights, this exercise can also be called an alternating cable crunch because it requires alternating between pulling each end toward you during each repetition (the most common method).


There are several variations of the crunch that can help you work different areas of your core. These include:

  • Raising the leg
  • Lowering of the legs
  • Raising and lowering the legs
  • Leg lift and twist
  • Lowering and twisting the legs
  • Raising and lowering the legs and twisting (one full turn)

Crunch Sets and Reps

For muscle hypertrophy, aim for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps with minimal rest between each set.

Common Crunch Mistakes

You may not get the most out of your crisis if you make any of these mistakes:

  • Not keeping your back straight. Your hips shouldn’t be higher than your shoulders, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to pull up to reach the sky.
  • Not maintaining an arch in your lower back throughout the movement (you should feel it with every repetition).
  • Does not hold at peak contraction for a full second or more; remember to count to five or six before lowering yourself to a relaxed position between reps.
  • Not breathing properly during exercise— it helps keep everything in sync!
  • Using too much range of motion; take small bites instead of big swings!

Does the Crunch Build Abs and a Six Pack?

It’s a great exercise for building your abs, but it’s not the only exercise that does.

Combine it with different core-based exercises that will attack and strengthen your core in different ways for the best results.

Heavy squats are also a great way to build a strong core and a six-pack.

Remember that a smart nutrition plan is essential if you want to get a six pack.

Is diet important to getting a six pack?

Yes. If you want to get a six pack, your diet is important.

Calorie deficit and exercise are both important fat loss methods, but they are not mutually exclusive. Combining the two will give you better results than either: you’ll burn more fat using both ways to lose weight.

Eating less food while exercising more will cause weight loss if these two things happen at roughly equal rates: when calories in are reduced and calories out increase at roughly the same rate (which means more calories burned). You need to be in a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight.

Protein helps prevent hunger pangs by keeping blood sugar levels stable and helps muscles recover.

Fiber helps keep your digestion regular so nutrients from food can be properly absorbed into your bloodstream rather than being stored as fat in your gut as an extra layer of insulation (in fact, it would be good for Winter).

Vegetables are also high in fiber, but also provide vitamins and phytochemicals that may protect against certain diseases. They are also low in calories and therefore do not contribute much to the number of calories consumed per day.

Can beginners do the Crunch exercise?

Yes, beginners can do the exercise. In fact, most people should start with modified crunches to start with.

Beginners should do three sets of ten reps and include the crunch exercise two to three times per week.


As you can see, there are several ways to perform the exercise.

You can vary your crunch workout by adjusting your body position and also by using different equipment.

How should you do this?

The best way to use any exercise is to learn how to do it well first using only your body weight, then gradually add resistance or make it harder over time. It’s also a good idea to vary exercises that work similar muscles to avoid injury from overuse or repetitive movements.

Learn more

About Shirley A. Tamayo

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