Abdominal Crunches

Abdominal crunches are probably the first exercise you think of when you think about abdominal exercises...

But did you know that there are many different variations of this popular exercise that targets all areas of your midsection? Read on to find out more and get a free simple abdominals workout plan to make your abs pop!

What Are Abdominal Crunches?

Ab crunches are among the most popular abdominal exercises. They primarily target the rectus abdominis muscle in the front of your belly. In particular, traditional ab crunches target the upper portion of your abdominal muscle (yes, I know that it’s all one muscle, but to learn more about why you can target the upper or lower portions, read about the abdominal muscle anatomy).

(Very) Basically, a traditional abs crunch is done by...

  1. Lying on your back on the floor with you knees bent.

  2. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart and planted firmly on the floor.

  3. Now, slowly curl your shoulders toward your pelvis by contracting your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
Abdominal Crunches

Vary the difficulty of the exercise by adjusting your hand position. Doing the exercise with hands across your chest is slightly easier than hands behind your head. You can also hold a weight across your chest to increase the intensity of this exercise.

Tips, Tricks, and Hints:

  • You really don't move a lot in this exercise - Your range of motion should be no more than 2 to 3 inches off the floor.

  • Don't bend your neck or let your chin touch your chest. This will lead to injury.

  • Don't forget about the negative. Fight gravity and lower yourself slowly toward the floor, but don't let your shoulder blades touch between reps.

For a more detailed description of abdominal crunches, click here.


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Now here's the cool thing about the abs crunch... depending on the type of abs crunch you do, you can shift the focus of the exercise from the upper abs to the lower abs and even to the obliques!

Abs Crunch Variations

Because of the way your abdominal muscle anatomy is set up, by making small variations in the way you do your crunches, you can shift the focus of the exercise to different parts of your midsection.

  • Reverse Crunch (Lower Abs)

  • Twisting Crunch (Obliques)

  • Oblique Crunch (Obliques)

  • Bicycle Crunch (Total Abdominal Workout)

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Simple Abdominals Workout Plan

To get a complete abdominals workout using only crunch variations, try this plan:

Crunches Only Abdominals Workout Plan
Exercise Sets Reps
Traditional Ab Crunch 3 20 - 25
Reverse Crunch 3 20 - 25
Oblique Crunch 3 20 - 25

Rest 60 to 90 seconds between sets, and 120 seconds between exercises.

Next Steps

Generally speaking, ab crunches form the foundation of any good abdominals workout plan. Tell me what your favorite variations of the abs crunch are in the comments below!

What should you do next? Glad you asked!

  1. Try the workout plan listed above to incorporate abdominal crunches into your fat burning and muscle building workout plans.
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