How to Do Crunches

Three Methods:Basic CrunchReverse CrunchOther Variations

Want six-pack abs? Try crunches. They're a lot like sit-ups, except that instead of lifting your entire back off the floor, you only lift your upper back. This isolates ("crunches") the abdominal muscles without engaging muscles in your hips.

Method 1
Basic Crunch

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    Lie on your back on the floor. Using a mat or carpeted surface is more comfortable, but make sure it doesn't have too much cushioning.
    • For more resistance, you can try these on a declined bench.
    • Some people prefer to do crunches on a stability ball.
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    Bend your knees. Your feet can be flat on the floor, or you can keep them suspended in the air during your crunches for a little extra crunch.
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    Cross your arms in front of your chest. You can also place your hands behind your neck or head, but many people tend to pull their head or neck up during the exercise, which can place extra strain on the spine. Your head and neck should be resting on your hands.
    • For increased resistance, you hold a weight on your chest or behind your head.
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    Lift your shoulders towards the ceiling using your abdominal muscles and pause at the peak. It is very important not to lift your entire back off the floor, as this can cause back strain, and the extended movement does not help you develop six pack abs any faster. When your shoulders are off the ground, pause and hold that position for a full second (or more).
    • It can be tempting to move your head forward (tucking in your chin to your chest) because it makes you feel like you're lifting further, but you're not. It's a bad habit that increases your chance of getting injured. One good way to prevent this is to always try to keep looking up at the ceiling.
    • If you have your hands behind your head or neck, don't let your elbows come together. Keep them level with your ears. Letting your arms close in around your head encourages your head to tilt forward.
    • Exhale and contract your abs as you go up.
    • If you are learning How to Take a Punch, you can do what Muay Thai fighters do: have someone hit your stomach while it's fully contracted to condition your core to take hits.
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    Ease back down slowly as you inhale. Don't just "plop" back down. Your control on the way down works your ab muscles as well.
    • Relax your abs before doing another crunch.

Method 2
Reverse Crunch

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    Lie on your back on the floor. Put your hands on your stomach or palms down at your sides.
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    Lift your feet off the floor. You can either have your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, or you can point your feet in the air with your legs as straight as you can get them.
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    Lift your hips off the ground, using your abs. Be careful not to push down with your hands, back, or head. If you can't lift your hips using just your abs, you'll need to build more strength with regular crunches. Otherwise, you're just wasting energy while other parts of your body do the work.

Method 3
Other Variations

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    Do a twist crunch. Follow the steps for regular crunches, but instead of lifting both shoulders off the ground equally, lift one shoulder towards the opposite direction (left shoulder towards right, right shoulder towards left). Alternate shoulders. This targets the obliques (the muscles at your sides).
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    Do a side crunch. Follow the steps for regular crunches, but lean both legs to one side (still bent, knees together, close to floor). Lift both shoulders off the ground simultaneously like in a regular crunch. Since your torso is twisted, you will feel it in your side. Do several crunches on one side, then move your legs over and repeat on the other side.
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    Do a cable crunch. Stand and hold onto a cable. Pull the weight down by curling your back and engaging your abs.


  • Crunches are a fun easy way to create flat stomach,hard rock abs and obliques.
  • Women have a greater natural curve in the lower spine than men do, because of the shape of their pelvis. Also, their natural fat deposits in the gluteal area raise the hips more when they lie flat. Therefore, they should consider providing extra back support when they do crunches rather than trying to press the lower back unnaturally flat into the floor. This can be simply done by placing a rolled-up towel or an appropriate pillow under the back at the point of its greatest arch. Experiment with shaping the towel until you find what is comfortable for you.


  • Cease the exercises if you feel pain in the neck area, as you may need to consult a physiotherapist or chiropractor for advice.

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