Different Types Of Crunches
It seems like there are so many kinds of abdominal exercises out there. It can be overwhelming trying to decide what is the best and most effective workout. One of the most popular exercises for working on and targeting your abs are crunches. In this article, we’ll be looking at the 15 different types of crunches and their benefits.
- Different Types Of Crunches
- What are the Different Abdominal Muscles?
- Why are Abs so Important?
- What are the Benefits of Crunches?
- 15 Different Types of Crunches
What are the Different Abdominal Muscles?
Before diving into our list of the best types of crunches, it’s important to know the different abdominal muscles as each type of crunches will address different muscle groups.
- Rectus Abdominis – long muscle along the core closest to the belly button. Most popular and well known AB muscle associated with a 6 pack.
- External Obliques – Found on the far left and far right of the rectus abdominis. Important for rotation of torso, bending sideways, etc.
- Internal Obliques – Deeper muscle behind the external obliques.
- Transverse Abdominis – Associated with breathing, stabilization of spine, tightens and holds in the internal organs. The deepest layer of AB muscles that wraps around the entire torso.
Why are Abs so Important?
Abs are important for both very functional reasons and very practical reasons. Foremost, your abdominal muscles protect your organs. Have you ever noticed that if you’re flexing and someone punches you in the stomach, it doesn’t hurt as bad? Hopefully, you’ve never experienced this! But, if you have, then you’ll know that by flexing your AB muscles, you are protecting your organs from any force that may come their way through an accident or anything else.
Another reason it is so helpful to have powerful abdominal muscles is because they help hold us up and improve our balance and stability. It’s literally the core of our body. There are significant improvements to any semi-athletic movements if your core, or foundation, is strong. Therefore, professional athletes devote specific time to improving their core strength.
What are the Benefits of Crunches?
Do crunches work for strengthening your core and achieving your fitness goals? While there is much debate over that question, in short, the answer is yes. Crunches work specific regions of your abdominal muscles and with the wide variety of different types of crunches, there’s one for everyone and their specific goals.
One of the best reasons that crunches are so great is that they don’t require a gym. Literally anyone can do them if they have a little space somewhere in their home and just a few minutes of time!
It is important to note that if you have experienced back problems in the past, consult a doctor and be cautious when doing crunches. There are some variations listed below that are better for those with back concerns, but always make sure they are right for you before trying it.
If you’re hunting to get a six-pack, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t get there by doing crunches alone. Diet plays a huge role in making your stomach look lean and toned.
15 Different Types of Crunches
1. Traditional Crunches
Traditional crunches are the most well-known crunches, and for good reason. One benefit of these crunches is that they specifically target your rectus abdominis muscles.
- Lay on your back with your hands behind your head.
- Bring your feet flat to the ground with your knees bent, facing upward.
- While looking up at the ceiling, bring the upper part of your back and shoulders up off the ground. Make sure you are pulling your belly button to your spine and tightening your abs. Exhale on your way up and inhale back down to the floor.
2. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are one of the most popular different types of crunches that work several AB muscles at once. If done properly, you can work your abdominis rectus and your internal and external transverse obliques all at once!
- Lying on the ground, place your hands behind your head. Your legs should be out straight and slightly lifted off the ground (about 6 inches).
- Keeping your hands behind your head, with your left leg slightly lifted in the air, try to connect your left elbow with your right knee. Be sure to exhale and flex your muscles when trying to connect.
- Switch to the other side, making your right elbow connect with your left knee.
- Continue to repeat, going back and forth without letting your feet touch the ground.
3. Reverse Crunches
Reverse crunches are a great way to stabilize and strengthen your lower abdominal muscles! Not to mention, they also put very little strain on your neck!
- Lay down with your hands at your side and your feet flat on the ground with your knees pointing to the sky.
- Press your lower back and hands into the ground while lifting your knees up. Maintain a 90-degree angle with your knees.
- Keeping that 90-degree angle, lift your lower back off the ground by tightening using your lower abs.
- Lower your body slowly with control, keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle. Once your lower back touches the ground, repeat the exercise.
4. Scissor Crunches
Scissor kicks are another type of crunch that really packs a punch! Not only does it activate several AB muscles, but it also works your leg muscles. The mix of statically holding the position while also incorporating slight movements will allow you to feel the burn.
- Lie on your back with your legs outstretched and your hands slightly under your buttocks.
- Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, tightening your abdominals.
- Once your upper body is hovering, lift both of your legs off the ground. Your lower back, hands, and buttocks should be the only parts of your body touching the ground.
- Keeping both feet hovering, lift your left leg higher and continue to switch back and forth in a scissor-like motion for the desired time you have set.
5. V-up Crunches
If you’re looking for a more advanced type of crunches that will incorporate more muscles than just your abs, look no further! Even though these are more challenging, they definitely have a big payoff.
- Lie down on the grounds with your legs and arms extended in opposite directions.
- All at once, bring your legs and arms up, making your body in the shape of a “V”. Make sure you are pulling with your abs and not just momentum.
- Slowly bring your arms and legs back down to where they are slightly hovering above the ground and repeat.
6. Oblique V-up Crunches
Want to take a V-up crunch to the next level? Try an oblique V-up crunch! This type of crunch exercise works all the muscles that V-up crunches do with the addition of your obliques.
- Lie on your left side with your left hand outstretched in front of you and your right hand behind your right ear. Your legs should be at a 45-degree angle from your body.
- With AB muscles tightened, crunch your elbow and your stacked legs up at the same time. Make them meet up at the top in a “V” shape.
- Slowly release your legs and upper body back to the ground and repeat. Once you’ve completed a set on your left side, switch over to the right side.
7. Toe-Touch Crunches
Pinpoint your rectus abdominis with toe-touch crunches! These quick, high rep crunches can make a big impact!
- Lie down on your back with your arms to your side and your legs pointing straight up in the air.
- Tighten your abdominals, bringing your belly button to your spine, and try to touch your toes.
- Keep your arms reaching upward throughout the set, continuing to go up and down.
8. Mountain Climbers
Often incorporated in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, mountain climbers are a fast-paced, higher intensity, and unconventional crunch workout that addresses all of your AB muscles at once.
- Start this exercise in the pushup position with hands shoulder width apart.
- Bend your left knee and bring it to the middle of your chest, then quickly switch, returning your left knee to the pushup position and bringing your right knee forward.
- Continue this motion alternating which knee is being brought forward.
9. Side Plank Crunch
Side plank crunches incorporate the benefits of a static abdominal exercise with a bonus of activating your obliques. This exercise also strengthens your back and your arms.
- Start on your side with your left forearm under your shoulders.
- Lift your body with your feet stacked.
- Crunch your right elbow to your right knee and continue to repeat.
10. Russian Twists
Talk about an oblique burner! Russian twists won’t strain your neck and will definitely leave your abs feeling spent!
- From a seated position, lean your body back and bring your feet slightly off the ground with your knees bent.
- Clasp your hands together and twist them over to the right side of your body, trying to touch the floor.
- Bring your hands back to the center and then twist them over to the left side. Continue alternating back and forth, exhaling each time you twist.
11. Ankle Tap Crunches
Another one of the different types of crunches that focuses on obliques, the ankle tap crunches are sure to help strengthen your sides.
- Lie on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and knees pointing upward. Your arms should be by your side.
- Tighten your abs and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the ground. You should look upward.
- Instead of crunching up, you will outstretch your left arm far to the left, trying to grab your left ankle.
- Return to original position, then repeat on the right side, trying to reach your right ankle while remaining to hover.
Sit-ups are a little different from a traditional crunch. Sit-ups target a bigger variety of muscles that not only include your abdominals but also your hip flexors. Perform them at a slower pace to reap the full benefits.
- Start by lying down flat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Your arms can be behind your head or crossing at your chest.
- As you exhale and tighten your abs, bring your torso and upper body up to meet your knees.
- Slowly lower back down and repeat.
13. Crunch Twists
A combination of Russian Twists and sit-ups, this movement will bring more attention to your obliques, back, and leg muscles!
- Lie on your back with your knees pointing in the air and feet flat on the floor. Put your arms behind your head.
- Lift as if you are doing a sit up, bring your body upright.
- As you reach the top, twist in a way that brings your right elbow to your left knee.
- Return slowly and controlled to the floor and continue the movement while alternating sides.
14. Frog Crunches
The frog crunches AB workout will really get your heart rate going! The benefit of frog crunches is that it incorporates a static hold that will tighten your inner abdominal muscles while the movements will address your outer ones.
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Have your feet out straight and lifted at a 45-degree angle.
- When you crunch, simultaneously bring your shoulders off the ground and your knees towards your shoulders.
- Return to the beginning position and keep your feet lifted.
15. Stability Ball Crunches
Some people may prefer a prop for their crunches. If this is the case, stability ball crunches allow you to work the same muscles while also working on stability since the ball will move around.
- Lie on the ball with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle and your hands should be behind your head.
- Crunch upward, looking towards the ceiling. Focus on keeping your ABs contracted.
- Release back to the beginning position and repeat.