How To Do a Reverse Crunch: Form, Common Mistakes and Variations
The ultimate guide to the reverse crunch!
Reverse crunches are an excellent way to exercise your lower abdominals, making them the best exercises for the lower abs.
Some of the best exercises for strengthening the core are crunches and sit-ups. The classic moves may work well for your upper abdominal muscles, but they won’t do much for your lower abs or transverse abdominis.
If you know how to do reverse crunches and add them to your ab routine, you will ensure that you train your core without creating any muscular imbalances in your six-pack muscle (rectus abdominis).
You use your lower abdominals regularly when walking, running, and twisting, and rotating, so the reverse crunch is a useful exercise for fitness.
Additionally, your lower abdominal muscles will also look amazing in the mirror. That never hurts.
- To lose lower belly fat and get defined abs, follow these tips on How To Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat
- The Best Ab Workouts for Men
- The Best Ab Workouts for Women
What Is a Reverse Crunch?
As the name implies, the reverse crunch exercise is the opposite of the traditional crunch.
Instead of keeping your legs and feet still and crunching inward, you lie flat on your back, keeping your shoulders firmly on the floor or mat, and crunch your lower body instead.
This exercise works a lot of muscles in your lower body, including your hip flexors, so you can include it in your routine to strengthen your core.
A stronger core enhances performance in both sport and everyday life, according to a Harvard Medical School study. You’ll also find that you are less likely to suffer from back pain on a day-to-day basis, as well as being more flexible and stronger when bending, twisting, lifting, even when sitting at your desk.
For fitness fans and athletes, creating a strong core is beneficial when, for example, kicking a football or throwing a right hook.
Almost all dynamics of full-body movements incorporate your major abdominal muscles, and the reverse crunch is one of the few exercises that activate your abdominal muscles as dramatically as it does (according to a study (1)).
You can begin carving a stronger core by following the guide below, and I’ll also offer form tips and a breakdown of variations.
How to Do a Reverse Rrunch
Rest your torso on your mat, place your hands at your sides while you lay face-up. Place them close to your body or extend them comfortably for balance.
The ‘crunch’ variant stimulates your lower-body muscles by engaging hip flexors and core muscles.
- As you lie flat on your back, place your hands by your sides and palms on the floor. Ensure that your abs are pulled in and your legs and feet are together.
- Raise your hips and pull your knees to your chest without moving your upper body at all.
- For rep count: perform a total of 1-10 repetitions from your starting position.
Benefits Of Reverse Crunches
If traditional crunches or situps cause neck discomfort, you might prefer the reverse crunch.
In addition to your main abdominal muscles, you’ll also activate your external obliques. Besides developing beautiful abdominal musculature, it also makes your abs strong and functional.
Sports performance, balance, stability, and good posture can all be improved by a strong core.
If you strengthen your abdominal muscles you will be prepared not only for vigorous sport but also for other activities around the house, such as gardening, which require bending, twisting, and reaching.
Make sure you are challenging your core muscles differently with varying exercises in your abs workout.
Common Reverse Crunch Mistakes
A core exercise that requires repetitively bending your spine can lead to injury: reverse crunches are easy to learn but difficult to master.
Pre-existing sufferers of lower back pain should be careful and when performing this move for their core strength.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining perfect form. Ensure your legs are in a 90-degree position so that your shins are parallel to the floor.
Engage your lower abs as you exhale. At the top of the movement, hold for a beat, before slowly rolling through the spine to the start position.
It is also helpful to engage your glutes and push your arms into the mat when performing the reverse crunch. It is an additional challenge when the movement is unstable: you have to rely on your core to hold you steady, using a lot more abdominal muscles.
In order to get the most from this muscle-building move, it’s important to do each rep slowly and under control. If you have trouble, a personal trainer can be a physical guide and help you master the procedure before you do it on your own.
Variation: Reverse Crunch Kick-Up
You can add a dynamic kick to the classic reverse crunch to intensify your cardiovascular workout.
- While lying flat on your back, your arms should be at your sides, thighs closed tight, and your knees slightly bent. Make sure your legs are bent at the knees and your feet are flat on the ground as you brace your core.
- Perform a reverse crunch by lifting your hips and pulling your knees towards your chest.
- Kick your legs out straight to continue the motion. While extending your legs straight, your lower back should rise off the ground, along with your backside.
At the end of this movement, your toes should be in line with the top of your head.
- Reverse the motion to complete one repetition.
You’ll find that compared to a standard crunch or a reverse one, this works your abdominals the hardest (with good form) to
Safety and Precautions
Ask your physician or physical therapist if this great exercise is appropriate for you if you suffer from back or neck injuries.
The abdominal muscles will feel stressed and even burn during this exercise, but not sharp pain.
Keep an eye out for that (or a nerve). You should stop the exercise if you experience stomach, back, or neck pain. Pregnant women should avoid this exercise.
- Escamilla RF;Babb E;DeWitt R;Jew P;Kelleher P;Burnham T;Busch J;D’Anna K;Mowbray R;Imamura RT; “Electromyographic Analysis of Traditional and Nontraditional Abdominal Exercises: Implications for Rehabilitation and Training.” Physical Therapy, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16649890/.