The crunch is an exercise often included as an afterthought to many workouts, but ab crunches can burn calories, slim fat and help build muscle. It’s important to note that many ab crunches work isolated areas of your stomach, meaning that unless you mix and match a bunch of different ones, you’re likely going to need more variation in your workout plan to achieve a flat, toned tummy. But with 15 different ab crunches to choose from, your stomach can get a full-belly workout.
- The Classic Crunch: We’ve all been doing this one since third grade gym class: feet on the floor, knees bent and hands behind your head. Pulse upward toward your knees.
- The Upward Crunch: This one bears a strong resemblance to the classic crunch, but it works deeper muscles, further down your abs. Instead of curling up toward your knees, lift your chest toward the ceiling.
- The Backward Crunch: Start this one from the top, sitting upright with your arms crossed over your chest. Pulse down and up, emphasis on the down.
- The Right Crunch: Set up for a regular crunch, but drop your knees to the right, while still sitting up forward or up toward the ceiling.
- The Left Crunch: Mirror the right crunch.
- The Butterfly Crunch: Touch the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open. Crunch with your legs in this position.
- The Floating Butterfly Crunch: The position is similar to butterfly ab crunches, but raise your feet to hover about two inches above the ground. If this is too challenging, place your hands on the ground for stability.
- The Bicycle Crunch: This is another classic. Raise your knees to a 90-degree angle and lengthen your right knee, while your right elbow moves in, as if to touch your left knee. Switch to the opposite side and keep going. The key here is to move your upper body to your legs, not the other way around.
- The Opposite Crunch: Begin in a normal, classic crunch position, but this time, raise your knees to form a 90-degree angle. Instead of raising your torso to your legs, raise your bent legs up toward the ceiling. Instead of working your upper abs, as most ab crunches do, this one works your lower, tricky-to-reach abdominal muscles.
- The Split Crunch: Lying on your back, raise your legs, straight toward the ceiling and let them fall open in a split position. Crunch forward, reaching your arms between your legs.
- The Flat Crunch: Perform classic crunches with your legs lying flat on the ground. This one should only be performed by those with fairly strong abs. The arch in your back should remain flat. If you feel it start to arch, save these ab crunches for a little ways down the road.
- The Extended Crunch: Extend your legs straight toward the sky and crunch.
- The Circular Crunch: Start in a classic crunch position. Keeping your legs in place, move your upper body up toward the left, circle it around to the right and lower. Then reverse.
- The Stationary Crunch: Start in a classic crunch position and raise your body up toward your legs, keeping a flat back. Hold here while you extend your arms on either side of your legs and pulse.
- The Upside Down Crunch: Also known as Supermans, this one is the outlier in that it works your back instead of your abs. However, it’s always important to exercise the opposite muscle from the one you’ve been focusing on at the end of each workout and so, if you’ve been working your abs, it’s time to balance things out with your back. Start lying flat on your stomach and lift your arms straight out in front of you and your legs straight behind, as if you were Superman flying through the air. Lower and repeat.
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