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Easy methods to Do the Reverse Crunch for Robust, Nicely-Developed Abs

Some individuals utterly shrink back from direct ab workouts, both out of boredom or as a result of they imagine the massive compound workouts like squats and overhead presses work their abs sufficient. However loads of different lifters make ab coaching a precedence, be it to enhance efficiency or their physique.

In terms of a handsome set of abs, decrease ab growth is very coveted. Workouts that contain leg motion, similar to numerous leg lifts or the straightforward reverse crunch, are generally used to focus on this space. Is it a sound technique? Possibly, as you’ll quickly be taught.

shirtless muscular person looking out window
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In any case, the reverse crunch is an easy and efficient train to construct and strengthen your abs, enhance backbone stabilization, and grow to be a fitter, extra muscular human being. For a lot of, it’s the primary “leg elevating” train discovered, so it’s time you understand how to do it correctly and reap its advantages.

Easy methods to Do the Reverse Crunch

Though it’s a beginner-friendly train, it’s important to guarantee correct type if you need maximal effectivity whereas avoiding ache. The reverse crunch is barely extra advanced than a conventional crunch as a result of it includes leg motion, torso flexion, in addition to spinal management. Right here’s do it proper.

Step 1 — Lie Down in Place

person on floor performing ab crunch
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No want for gear — aside from a gymnasium mat if you happen to want some consolation. Merely lie down on the ground. Maintain your higher physique utterly flat, squeeze your glutes, and tilt your pelvis backwards to push your decrease again into the bottom. It will forestall your decrease again from arching at any level through the raise.

Place your arms on the ground by your aspect, palms down, and use them for stability. Bend your legs and set your ft flat on the bottom.

Type tip: If in case you have bother holding your decrease again flat, raise your shoulder blades barely off the bottom. It will provide help to create extra stress in your abs and supply extra management over your backbone and hips. Having an arched again reduces your skill to contract your abs.

Step 2 — Convey Your Knees Towards Your Head

person on floor performing reverse crunch exercise
Credit score: Philip Date / Shutterstock

Take a breath into your stomach and brace your abs. Tuck your legs in direction of your face till your hips and decrease again raise from the bottom. As your legs transfer, preserve a roughly 90-degree angle at your knees.

No different motion ought to happen in your physique: hold your legs on the similar angle, brace as a lot as you possibly can, and drive your fingers into the bottom to stabilize your self. Go sluggish so that you simply don’t threat shedding posture. Within the prime place, your hips needs to be off the bottom for max ab recruitment.

Type tip: If you wish to make the train tougher, straighten your legs as you start the motion or after you’ve reached the highest place. This creates an extended lever arm and will increase the problem in your core muscle tissues.

Step 3 — Decrease Your Legs With Management

person in gym doing crunch on floor
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Decrease your legs slowly till your ft contact the bottom and also you’ve returned to the beginning place. Transferring at a comparatively slower pace helps you’re feeling your abs working and eliminates momentum.

To maintain stress in your core, don’t permit your decrease again to arch as you carry your legs down. Maintain your pelvis tilted backwards and your decrease again pushed into the bottom all through your entire repetition.

Type tip: In case your again begins to arch as your legs transfer, bend your legs extra. Shortening the vary of movement may also assist. Till you will have sufficient total-core management, solely decrease your legs till you’re feeling your again beginning to arch, after which reverse the motion.

Reverse Crunch Errors to Keep away from

Ab workouts that incorporate leg motion are liable to unhealthy type as a result of many individuals lose focus. Though the reverse crunch might be the best leg raise-type of train, errors are nonetheless frequent.

Arching Your Decrease Again

It is a frequent mistake with rookies, as a result of many new lifters lack spinal management and core energy. Arching your decrease again will lower ab involvement and shift extra of the workload in direction of the hip flexors.

person on floor doing leg raise exercise
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Is it a foul factor? Nicely, if you need better-looking abs, it received’t be as environment friendly. Extra importantly, this may trigger stress on the decrease again area. If you wish to keep away from ache and potential accidents, goal to attenuate decrease again arching and hip flexor involvement. (1)

Keep away from it: Be sure that your core is all the time braced and beneath stress. If you’re not flexing your trunk, be sure your decrease again is firmly involved with the bottom. Do the train slowly and with management. Barely elevate your shoulder blades from the ground to additional have interaction your core, if wanted. 

Utilizing Momentum

It may be tempting to permit momentum to take over as a result of it makes the train simpler, however it is going to vastly diminish muscle activation. When you begin swinging your legs round, you’ll find yourself utilizing largely your hip flexors in lieu of your abs, and also you threat arching your decrease again through the eccentric (descent).

person on floor doing leg raise exercise
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When you’re aiming for muscle progress, that is inefficient as it is going to additionally scale back time beneath stress and also you’ll must carry out many extra repetitions, and spend extra time and general effort, simply to have the identical stimulus as a strict motion. (2) This could additionally put extra pressure in your hip joints and decrease again, presumably leading to ache or accidents.

Keep away from it: There’s a sure execution pace at which your physique will lose muscle stress and optimum bracing. It’s best to by no means attain that pace however, sadly, you solely realize it when you attain it. When you’re unsure, merely use a sluggish tempo — two to 3 seconds on the concentric (lifting) and two to 3 seconds for the eccentric (decreasing).

Advantages of the Reverse Crunch

The best workouts are sometimes probably the most environment friendly, and the reverse crunch is not any exception. Find out how this raise can enhance your health and supply advantages that different ab workouts lack.

Stomach Muscle Progress

They are saying that “abs are made within the kitchen,” however they’re truly made within the gymnasium. A balanced weight loss plan and a wholesome physique fats will solely reveal them, however if you wish to show a formidable set of abs, it’s important to practice them like some other muscle.

A correctly executed reverse crunch will provide important time beneath stress and supply a unique stimulus than what your abs are used to if you happen to’ve solely been doing commonplace crunches or sit-ups. Incorporating the motion for selection will even assist construct extra muscle. (3)

Core Energy

This train will enhance ab energy and enhance your core and bracing talents. The reverse crunch teaches you switch power out of your your core to different limbs (your legs, particularly). You additionally learn to brace correctly for max effectivity and energy.

person on floor doing medicine ball ab exercise
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The final precept is just like squatting, the place your core helps you switch the power out of your legs via your core and into the barbell. The reverse crunch may help you get higher at compound workouts which require core stability, making you a stronger and extra full lifter.

Spinal Management

The onerous a part of the train is definitely to exert correct ab stress whereas bracing sufficient to forestall your decrease again from arching. Sustaining this robust place will train you stabilize your backbone and effectively brace your core. Improved spinal stability and management can scale back your threat of decrease again ache and accidents, and enhance your total-body energy. (4)(5)

Muscle tissues Labored by the Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is a trunk flexion train, which implies that it’s going to primarily goal the rectus abdominis, however many of the core will truly contribute. Ab workouts which incorporate leg motion are mentioned to emphasise lower-ab growth. Let’s see if that’s true and what muscle tissues it trains.

Rectus Abdominis

That is the well-known “six pack.” It’s probably the most seen ab muscle and goes from the pelvis to the sternum. The primary perform of the rectus abdominis is to flex the trunk by bringing the ribs and the pelvis nearer collectively.

muscular person doing reverse crunch
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Now, right here’s the difficult half: It’s usually claimed that you could “goal” the higher or decrease sections of the muscle. Usually, ab workouts which carry the ribs nearer to the pelvis are thought-about “higher ab workouts.” Actions which carry the pelvis nearer to the ribs, just like the reverse crunch, are considered “decrease ab workouts.”

Nonetheless, the rectus abdominis continues to be one single muscle (with a number of tendons operating throughout it) so it’s all the time totally contracted. Is it actually attainable to emphasise the decrease separate from the higher? Let’s have a look at the analysis.

One research didn’t discover a important distinction between workouts when it comes to higher or decrease ab recruitment. (6) However the workouts have been carried out with the lifters’ fingers beneath their decrease again, which could have brought on much less decrease abs involvement by rising the again arch.

Comparatively, some research have discovered a distinction in activation. (7) If the hips are flexed in direction of the ribs whereas the higher physique stays stationary, the decrease abs have been proven to do extra work.

So it appears that evidently recruiting the decrease abs is extremely associated to train choice. You can’t “isolate” the higher or the decrease abs — the rectus abdominis will all the time work as a complete — however some actions can stress both part barely extra. Correctly carried out workouts that contract the abdominals by rotating your pelvis nearer to your (stationary) ribcage could emphasize the decrease abs greater than the higher. (8)


The interior and exterior obliques are the “aspect abs” going out of your hip bones up in direction of your ribs. They’re considerably recruited when twisting from the waist or bending sideways.

The obliques are additionally barely concerned in flexing the trunk, and so they work closely to forestall the physique from bending or twisting. They’re recruited, notably within the prime portion of the reverse crunch, to stabilize your decrease physique because it raises barely into the air.

Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are a collection of muscle tissues answerable for bringing the leg up in direction of the physique. These comparatively small however highly effective muscle tissues are concerned within the reverse crunch due to the leg motion. They’re notably activated as your legs are lowered to the bottom and raised from it.

When you fail to raise your pelvis in direction of your torso within the prime a part of every repetition, the hip flexors (and never the abdominals) would be the main muscle tissues labored through the reverse crunch.

Who Ought to Do the Reverse Crunch

Ab workouts will be helpful to just about anybody, so you need to doubtless embody some direct ab workouts in your coaching. Right here’s when the reverse crunch, particularly, is most helpful.

Folks Who Wish to Look Good

If you wish to sport an aesthetic physique, then it’s essential do some direct ab work. One psychology research even revealed that well-developed abdominals are probably the most fascinating physique half for males, and within the prime three for ladies. (9)

If you need your higher physique to be pleasing to the attention, then together with reverse crunches as a part of your coaching will go a great distance, particularly when paired with a selected fats loss weight loss plan and an general well-muscled physique.

Energy Athletes

Many energy lifts similar to squats, deadlifts, or presses require a robust core to assist shifting the heaviest weights attainable. The reverse crunch may help by growing the muscle tissues answerable for rising intra-abdominal strain, enhancing spinal management and stability, and rising bracing talents. A stronger core is proven to assist make you stronger as a complete. (10)

Sports activities Athletes

In the identical trend, core energy will provide help to develop extra pace and energy if you happen to’re a normal sports activities athlete. (11) We not often consider it, however operating, leaping, and throwing all require core energy and total-body coordination. Furthermore, the reverse crunch strengthens the hip flexors, which is able to are closely concerned in operating, leaping, and agility.

Folks with Again Points

When you’ve skilled again ache, or need to forestall it, strengthening your abs is simply as vital as strengthening your decrease again. The physique wants stability to be able to carry out optimally. Sadly, trendy life usually results in muscular imbalances, poor posture, and an absence of normal bodily situation. The reverse crunch may help you fight these potential decrease again points by enhancing core energy. (12)

Easy methods to Program the Reverse Crunch

As a fundamental body weight train, the reverse crunch is kind of simple to program. You can too add some resistance to spice issues up a bit. Undertake these repetition schemes if you need maximal profit, as a substitute of doing numerous low-effort reps.

Unweighted, Average to Excessive Reps

It is a widespread vary for ab workouts. Three to 4 units of 10 to twenty repetitions with 30 to 60 seconds of relaxation will do the trick, offered you employ good type. When you can bang out an ultra-high variety of reps, it’s an indicator that you simply’re utilizing improper type otherwise you’re a beast that should add some resistance.

Weighted, Average Reps

You’ll be able to both safe a small weight plate in your ankles and shins or maintain a dumbbell or medication ball between your ft. A load that’s troublesome for three to 4 units of six to 12 repetitions will present an elevated problem to construct energy or stimulate new progress. It’s important to maintain your type the identical or it is going to defeat the aim of the train.

Reverse Crunch Variations

Maybe you’ve had sufficient of mendacity on the bottom otherwise you need to stimulate your abs and hip flexors in a brand new trend. Listed below are some kickass variations that may share the identical advantages because the reverse crunch and focus in your decrease abs.

Hanging Leg Increase

Hold from a pull-up bar, hanging knee elevate station, or Roman chair. To essentially recruit your abs and never focus in your hip flexors, make sure you curl your pelvis up towards your chest on the prime of the motion.

That is an environment friendly motion as a result of it will probably simply be scaled down, by bending the legs, or scaled up by aiming to the touch your ft to the bar over your head. Furthermore, the hanging model will even “decompress” your backbone, offering comfy reduction after an intense pulling exercise or leg day.


It is a comparatively superior body weight train, however if you happen to’ve mastered the reverse crunch, this could be a development as a substitute of including resistance. The v-up is without doubt one of the strongest actions to enhance core bracing as a result of it requires a excessive stage of stomach stress mixed with leg and arm motion.

The train will train you to switch power effectively between your limbs, in addition to present a critical exercise for the abs, hip flexors, and even the serratus — a key muscle for shoulder stability and efficiency.

Mendacity Leg Increase

That is the reverse crunch’s almost-identical twin brother. It seems related, however refined variations provide distinctive advantages. The mendacity leg elevate solely includes leg motion with out elevating the pelvis or hips, so it is going to focus extra on recruiting the hip flexors.

Nonetheless, so long as you forestall any decrease again arching, your abs will get a critical exercise as effectively. The general method is simpler, making it’s comparatively less complicated than the reverse crunch.

Reverse Crunch Alternate options

What if you wish to practice your abs whereas emphasizing the higher half? Don’t fear, you’re lined with these options.


The direct reverse of the reverse crunch. The nice ol’ crunch is usually butchered as a result of the vary of movement is so quick, however when executed accurately, it may be a incredible ab train.

As a result of it solely includes higher trunk flexion, this train will torch your higher abs. The essential crunch is presumably some of the easy and efficient methods to coach the abs.

Cable Crunch

This train is favored for its simplicity and for a way handy it’s so as to add doubtlessly heavy resistance. The cable crunch is the bread and butter for any lifter who needs to construct a robust core.

The cable crunch is without doubt one of the finest methods to develop stronger, greater abs via progressive overload. A correctly executed cable crunch will end in superior higher abs recruitment with little to no hip flexor involvement.


The sit-up is the quintessential ab train present in {many professional} and athletic bodily health checks. It’s extremely environment friendly for constructing, and assessing, complete core energy and growth.

Like all crunch variations, you possibly can simply add exterior resistance with a weight plate or weighted vest, however many lifters discover the correctly carried out sit-up to be comparatively difficult as a result of lengthy vary of movement.


Ought to I do the reverse crunch initially or on the finish of a exercise?

Each will be legitimate ways. Coaching abs on the finish of a exercise is the standard option to go, and for good purpose. By ending with ab work, your core received’t be as fatigued through the session once you need to be contemporary for heavier workouts, like squats.

However if you happen to’re somebody that loathes coaching abs, doing them first will be certain that you don’t skip them since you’re “too drained” after an exhausting exercise. You most likely received’t be as robust through the first few  classes, however you’ll doubtless adapt and profit within the long-run.

Will the reverse crunch shred my abs?

Sadly, no. This train will strengthen your abs and stimulate muscle progress, to allow them to look higher, however you will have to have the ability to see them first. The one factor that may reveal your abs is to realize a low sufficient physique fats proportion.

For that, it’s essential verify your power expenditure and be in a caloric deficit lengthy sufficient so that you simply soften your stomach and reveal your six-pack. You’ll be able to eat much less energy, and/or burn extra energy via bodily actions or cardio.

Reverse Engineer Your Technique to a Nice Set of Abs

Incorporating the reverse crunch in your coaching routine doesn’t simply ship a greater trying six-pack. It’s an ignored option to construct a stronger and more healthy core. It’s time to cease avoiding ab work, get on the ground, and get these knees up.


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