5 Variations of the Abdominal Crunch Exercise

The standard abdominal crunch exercise

Ab crunch exercises are very effective for helping you tone and develop your abdominal area. And, the great thing about ab crunch exercises is that they require no special equipment. You can do them right at home.

For the best results, however, you'll want to do multiple variations of the ab crunch, since each variation targets a different set of abdominal muscles.

5 Variations of the Abdominal Crunch Exercise

1. The Plain Old Ab Crunch

The standard ab crunch

This is the tried and true ab crunch. Lie on your back, but don't let shoulders go all the way to the ground. Crunch forward toward your stomach.

2. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle abdominal crunch

This ab crunch targets the obliques, as well as the primary abdominal muscles. Begin with knees at 90 degrees. As you come up into the crunch position with your upper body, bring the opposing knee to the elbow, alternating. Your legs move as if you were riding a bike.

3. Reverse Crunch


Lie on your back, with shoulders on the floor too. Lift your legs to 90 degrees or higher. When you crunch, lift your legs and hips off the floor, leaving your upper body flat.

It's a small move, but it's very effective at targeting your lower abdominal muscles, which are not worked very much with other ab crunch exercises.

4. Stability Ball Crunch


Doing your regular ab crunch on a stability ball is a great variation. You lay on the ball with your stomach and thighs are parallel to the floor. Then perform your regular crunch move.

This variation on the ab crunch is great for strengthening your core and improving your stability, in addition to working the major ab muscles.

5. Straight Leg Crunch

This ab crunch is tough, but it can really work your primary rectus abdominus muscle.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight in the air
  2. Place arms out in front of you
  3. Lift your upper body off the floor, trying to reach your toes with your fingers
  4. Be sure to exhale as you reach toward your feet.

Variety Will Help You Develop All Of The Abdominal Muscles

Keep performing a variety of abdominal exercises to target all the main stomach muscles

With these five variations on the ab crunch, you'll begin to ensure that you're engaging all the primary muscles of the abdomen. You'll also be working your hip flexors and your lower back.

For most of these exercises, you should start with 15-20 reps in each set, performing 3 sets.

As your fitness increases, add light weights or increase the number of sets and reps.

It's important to always remember proper form when performing any type of ab crunch.

Never pull on your neck and always exhale as you perform the work. Keep movements slow and controlled, not allowing momentum to take over.

Take a day off between workouts to allow your muscles to heal. Neck and back injury are common when performing ab crunch exercises; so take caution.

With proper attention to form, and consistency in your workouts, these ab crunch exercises should help you get well on your way to achieving those six-pack abs you've been dreaming about.

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