Crunch: how to do it, benefits, variations and the challenge crunch

Crunch: how to do it, benefits, variations and the challenge crunch

Find out how to do the crunch, the mistakes to avoid so you don’t get hurt, who it’s not suitable for and the many variations of the exercise.

Then, try our Fitness Challenge: Beginner to Intermediate Workout. However, to reduce your waistline and have a flat stomach, remember that doing abs is useful but alone is not enough. In fact, working only the muscles in the abdomen does not allow you to burn enough calories to allow a significant reduction in abdominal fat.

The perfect mix to achieve results is to combine abs, which are essential for toning up, with proper nutrition and aerobic work (such as running) to burn fat and calories and kick up the metabolism.

You will see that if you follow your diet path correctly, do aerobic exercises and accept the challenge crunch challenge, the results will come!

In fact, numerous specialists have warned about the risks of this exercise aimed at having drawn abs. Therefore, performed incorrectly, it can be harmful to health because during the execution there is a significant pressure on the abdominal belt and therefore also on the perineum. Furthermore, it can be the cause of lumbar pain but also of the cervicals.

Crunch: what is it

It is an exercise that especially stresses the rectus abdominis and the external oblique.

It is necessary to carry out a vertebral unrolling to bring the bust closer to the pubis.

The abdominal crunch and the chair crunch are the 2 most popular exercises. As a rule, they are done without tools. For beginners, the advice is to start with your feet on a chair in order to facilitate the lifting of the torso.

But, there are numerous variations to also solicit the other muscles of the abdominal belt, such as the reverse crunch or the standing crunch, which also work the obliques.

The ideal exercise for beginners

Lying on the floor, place your legs bent at 90 degrees on a chair. Inhale and, exhaling, bring your belly in and lift your shoulders off the ground.

Be careful not to force the necks. Inhaling, return to the starting position.

Effective exercise for lower and upper abs?

It works the high insertion of the abdomen, while for the low insertion of the rectus abdominis you can do reverse crunches.

Supine, with legs raised and semi-bent, arms at sides. Inhale and exhale, lift the sacrum slightly and bring it back to the ground without swinging your legs too much. The pelvis rises because it is pulled by the abdomen.

ATTENTION: you must not feel fatigue on your back.

If you are interested in the topic, discover our study on the abdomen anatomy.

How to do the exercise correctly

You must try to move your back in a fluid way and keep your pelvis stable. To perform the exercise correctly, it is essential never to lock your feet, to avoid back strain.

Initial position

Lying on the ground, place your hands behind your head or on your temples. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Feet slightly apart. Keep your spine long.


Push your lower back down, keeping your spine long. Inhale and exhale, bring your belly in and lift your upper back off the ground by pushing it slightly forward.

Do not detach the lower back, the reduced amplitude does not detract from the effectiveness of the exercise.

Crunch: mistakes to avoid

In order for the exercises to be effective, it is important to perform them correctly in order not to make mistakes that would risk compromising the results despite the effort.

Here are 2 tips to get your abs working the right way.

1 – Pay attention to your posture: while doing the exercise you have to stretch your spine as much as possible in order to be able to keep your belly in without ever pushing your organs downwards.

2 – Perform the exercise exhaling from the bottom up and bringing the belly in during the effort: never let it come out or you’ll get the opposite result to what you hoped for.

To be avoided

  • Push with your hands.
  • Lower your chin towards your chest.
  • Arch your back.
  • Lift your feet.

Do you want to understand if you are working well? She places a hand on her stomach. If she is rejected and you feel her abdomen contract and come out, it means that the execution is not correct. Instead, if it contracts without coming out, you’re doing your abs the right way.

Find out all the mistakes to avoid when performing abs.

The variations of the crunch

There are numerous variations that you can include in the challenge crunch to broaden and diversify your work and therefore have greater results.

1 – Crunch su fitball

Sitting on the fitball, do a crunch. The aim is to manage not to move the ball.

2 – Crunch in piedi

Start standing, legs spread beyond the width of the pelvis and hands behind the neck.

Inhale and exhale, bring the right knee towards the elbow, tilting the torso sideways. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

Recommendations: be careful to keep the leg opening laterally, do not lift the knee in front of you. During the movement, keep your belly in, your head straight and your gaze forward, without contracting your neck.

3 – Oblique alternating on one side

Start lying on your right side, bring your left leg forward and place your right hand on your thigh.

Bend your knees slightly. He brings his left hand behind his neck. Inhale and exhale, take the left shoulder off the ground, pushing with the right hand on the left leg so that it stays on the ground. Return to starting position and repeat. Then, turn onto your left side and repeat the exercise.

Recommendations: do not force the neck with the hand, which must only accompany the movement. As you exhale, keep your belly in.

4 – Alternate Crunch

In the supine position, reach your hands behind your head with your elbows open. He inhales and lifts his legs and shoulders off the ground, being careful not to let his belly come out.

Exhale and bring the left leg towards the right elbow performing a chest twist. He repeats the exercise on the other side and continues the execution by alternating legs.

Important: always keep your elbows open, remember to always keep your lumbar area on the ground and rest your head on your hands without forcing your neck to avoid neck pain.

5 – reverse crunch

Lying on your back with your feet on the ground hip-width apart, arms along the body and palms of the hands resting on the ground, back adherent to the floor.

Inhale and exhale, lift your pelvis off the ground by pushing your legs towards the ceiling. The oscillation is minimal, the pelvis rises because it is pulled by the abdomen.

Important: you must not feel fatigue on your back!

Return to the starting position.

Important recommendation: before starting this program or any other sporting activity, consult your doctor, who will be able to advise you on whether the sport you have chosen is suitable for you, especially if you suffer from pathologies.

6 – Double crunch

This exercise is not recommended for beginners.

Start on your back, hands behind your head, elbows open, legs bent at 90 degrees.

Inhale and exhale, bring your belly in and bring your shoulders and knees together at the same time. Keep your elbows open at all times. Perform small contractions.

Test by Fabio Inka to assess the strength of your abs

Before starting the challenge, do the test to assess the condition of your abs. The result will help you understand how to modulate the intensity of your work, so as not to risk forcing too much, especially if you’re not very trained.

This is a popular test to evaluate the strength of the abs.

What to do in 1 MINUTE: you have to do as many crunches as possible. Attention to the precise technical execution: the hands are only placed on the ground behind the head without applying pressure, the lumbar part remains on the ground, the gaze fixed in front of you.

If your result is decent or below the threshold, do our challenge crunch for beginners.

Abs Workout: Beginner and Intermediate level

Abs Workout for Beginners: 30 Days to Lose Your Belly

This workout is perfect for beginners who want to challenge themselves with progressive work. It consists of performing the exercise correctly for 4 days, while the fifth is rest. Then you start with 2 sets of 10 with a 30-second rest between sets, then continue in one set.

Recommendations: don’t work on the speed of execution but focus your attention on correct execution, remember to bring your belly in when you exhale and swing.

Therefore, it is better to do it slowly feeling the work of the abs well than to do it quickly and make mistakes. Also, when you shrug your shoulders slowly, the lap belt gets stronger. If you want to enhance the work on the abs, when you have finished the ascent, you can stop for a few seconds.

In fact, warming up before any physical activity is essential, not only to avoid getting hurt but also to prepare the body and mind for the effort. It is a stage that cannot be skipped.

So, before starting your workout, spend at least 5 minutes warming up.

Day 110 repsDay 210 crunchesDay 315 repetitionsDay 415 crunchesDay 5RESTDay 62 sets of 10Day 72 sets of 10
dd. 820 repetitionsDay 920 repetitionsDay 10RESTDay 1130 repetitionsDay 1230 repetitionsDay 132 sets of 20Day 14REST
dd. 152 sets of 20Day 162 sets of 25Day 172 sets of 25Day 1840 repetitionsDay 1950 repeatsDay 202 sets of 30Day 21REST
dd. 222 sets of 30Day 232 sets of 35Day 242 sets of 35Day 252 sets of 40Day…