The reverse crunch is a core strengthening exercise that targets and works the muscles of the lower abdomen. Second to crunches, the reverse crunch is the most popular abdominal exercise that targets the lower abs.
Often time people usually combine the two alongside plank to create a full abdominal workout routine.
Take my usual ab workouts at home routine for example.
It consists of the standard crunch, the reverse crunch, and the side plank to target all different regions of the abdomen.
Start with my upper ab workouts by doing 25 to 30 standard crunches, then I move to lower abs by doing about 15 to 20 reverse crunches exercise, and I will finish it with a 60-second hold side plank for the obliques.
Here, try this ab workout routine at home:
- 20-30 regular ab crunch
- 15-20 reverse crunch
- 30-60 seconds hold of the side plank
- 2-minute break
Total: 2-3 sets
Do this routine with very little rest between the exercises and after complete the circuit repeat 2 to 3 more times to maximize your results.
The lower ab crunch is a very effective workout to target your stomach muscles, especially the lower abdomen. It’s one of the best lower abdominal exercises that activate those hard to reach area.
What’s more, it’s even more effective when it’s combined with other exercises like shown above.
What muscles does the reverse crunch work?
The reverse crunch works all of the muscles in your abdomen including rectus and transverse abdominals but with the emphasis on the lower abs.
Both rectus and transverse abdominal muscles are located the central part of your abdomen stretching from your lower abs and pelvis to just below your rib cage.
As a secondary target muscle, these modified crunches work the obliques, the muscles that run on both sides of your torso.
What are reverse crunches good for?
This crunch variations bring a wide range of benefits. From core strength to spine stabilization, this calisthenic exercise is an easy way to improve your bodily functions and aesthetics.
Here are some of the benefits that stand out:
- Builds abs muscles – targets all your abdominal muscles including rectus abdominals, transverse abdominis, and obliques.
- Develops core strength – activates a wide range of muscles in the trunk, leading to a stronger core.
- Improves daily functions – from balance to stability, by working the deep abdominal muscles helps improve your daily movements and even your posture. It’ll help you perform your daily tasks around the house like gardening, which involves twisting, bending, and being on your foot.
- Targets the lower belly – reaches the hard to target area like your lower stomach pooch. It’s instrumental in flattening your stomach and getting rid of your belly fat including your lower stomach.
- Less pressure on the back and spine – compared to the traditional crunches, this crunch variation is much more suitable on the body. With the traditional crunches, it’s easy to put unnecessary pressure on your spine and lower back. Often, those with neck discomfort find the reverse crunch exercise easier to perform and prefer over the regular crunch. If that’s you, consider this reverse crunch an alternative to your classic crunch.
It’s one move that’ gentle on your spine and lower back while strengthening all your muscles in your torso and core. It’s an effective core workout that benefits your daily functions by improving your balance, flexibility, and movements.
How do you do a reverse crunch?
There are several ways to do a reverse crunch, but it’s important to master the standard form of an exercise before moving on to more difficult variations.
To perform the basic reverse crunch:
- Lie flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Keep your arms straight and place your hands next to your hips with palms facing down. Lift up your knees off the floor. They should remain bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Bring your knees towards your head by lifting your hips off the floor. Engage the abdominals to curl up, and you should feel the tension in the front and middle of your abs. Control your movement and momentum throughout.
- Once at the top, lower your legs down to return to the starting position. Stop before your feet hit the ground. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Tips: try not to arch your back to perform this safely as it can strain your back muscles and can lead to unnecessary injury.
If you are performing this at the gym, you may use a decline bench. It provides additional support on your back and helps keep your chest flat.
This calisthenic workout offers an effective way to challenge your abdominals and all muscles in your core without needing equipment. When added to your regular core routine, the reverse crunch can help tone your abs, build six-packs, and even flatten your lower abs.
It’s also a functional workout that can improve your daily functions.
But as with any new workout, be sure to contact your health expert to consult before you start to make sure this exercise and fitness routine are right for you.