How to Do a Crunch With Crossed Arms Correctly


Safer Crunch for Your Neck: Crossed Arm Crunch

Crossed arm crunch is a beginner-friendly bodyweight crunch exercise that works your abdominals. As opposed to the standard crunch exercise, it is easier to perform and safer for your neck.

How to Do Crunch With Crossed Arms

  1. Lie on the floor facing up. Cross your arms in front of your chest. 
  2. Your right hand is placed on your left shoulder and left hand is placed on your right shoulder.
  3. Tighten abs. Lift your chest up by pulling from your abs.

Return to the original position and repeat 8 to 10 reps each side to complete the set.

Safer Crunches For Your Neck

Crunching up is not only easier with your arms right in front of you, but also safer.

Jonathan Thompson, ACE certified personal trainer warns of neck pain with crunches.

He writes, many people make the mistake of jerking the head forward when crunching. This practice makes the exercise easier but often results in neck strains and pain in the region.

He writes, many people make the mistake of jerking the head forward when crunching. This practice makes the exercise easier but often results in neck strains and pain in the region.

The neck strain is particularly frequent in crunches with hands behind the neck. It’s largely because the hand placement encourages you to pull from the neck rather than use abs to create momentum.

Just by changing the hand placement to this front crossed arm position, you can protect your neck and prevent pulling neck muscles

There are several other ways you can perform crunches the safer way.

Other neck strain-free crunches:

How to Add Challenge to the Crossed Arm Crunch:

Bodyweight exercises including the crossed arm crunch are the perfect starting point. They help you get accustomed to the movement without having to bear excessive weight or challenge. With that said, it can get boring and lose its effectiveness after months of repetitions.

The best way to avoid workout plateau is to advance the move and spice things up.

For the Cross Armed Crunch, there are two ways to add challenge.

  1. Add a Swiss ball
  2. Add a weight plate

Adding a Swiss ball helps you improve your range of motion increase your core and back muscle activation.

It also leads to better balance and stability by having to maintain your body position on the ball.

Adding a weight plate gives you a different type of challenge. External resistance, that is.

Though you are not recruiting more muscles than you are with crossed arm crunch, it engages your rectus abdominals harder to work against the resistance.

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