How to: Reverse Crunch
Primary Muscles Used:Abs, Rectus Abdominis
Exercise Families:Trunk Flexion
- Lie on your back on the yoga mat and place both hands by your sides. Extend both legs and engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting position.
- Inhale. Exhale. Bend your knees and, using your abdominals, bring them in towards your chest. Allow your lower back to lift off the mat to allow full contraction of your abdominals.
- Inhale. Slowly lower your back to the mat and extend your legs to return to the starting position, but without lowering your feet to the floor. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.
As the name implies, the reverse crunch exercises the abdominal muscles by reversing the motion of a traditional crunch. With this variation of the exercise, your focus should be on maintaining a slow and controlled movement, to get the most out of both the “crunch” - the tension you place on the muscles - and the stretch of the abdominal muscles.
Reverse crunch benefits
Strengthens the full length of the rectus abdominis and reaches the deeper abdominal muscles.
If you experience neck discomfort during a traditional crunch or sit-up, the reverse crunch is a good alternative.
Provides an effective ab workout with a lower number of repetitions compared to some other ab exercises.
Reverse crunches can also engage both your obliques and your transverse abdominus.
Tips for performing reverse crunches
Aim to perform the exercise slowly, maintaining full control through the whole range of motion. By doing the reverse crunch more slowly, you increase the amount of work - and the amount of benefits - for the muscles on every repetition.
Avoid using momentum to bring your knees towards your chest. This is an ab exercise, so you want to be using those muscles to do the work.
Alternatives to reverse crunch
Toe taps: if you find it challenging to achieve the full range of motion for reverse crunches, try building your core strength with toe taps first.
Medicine ball reverse crunch: try holding a medicine ball between your knees while you perform a reverse crunch to make the exercise a little bit more challenging.
Cable reverse crunch: incorporate a cable into your reverse crunches to add as much resistance to the exercise as you like.
Decline reverse crunch: another way to make your reverse crunches more challenging is to perform them on a decline bench.
Straight-leg raise: this variation is very similar to the reverse crunch, but you aim to keep both your legs fully extended throughout the movement. As with a reverse crunch, a controlled slow movement is best for straight-leg raises.
Alternative Exercises for Abs
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.