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How to Do the Reverse Crunch Exercise

The reverse crunch is a great core exercise that primarily targets the rectus abdominis, aka the six-pack muscles in the abdomen. It is easy to perform and is suitable for newbies and advanced gym-goers alike.

You can add this exercise to your core, abs, or full-body workout session and practice it regularly to achieve great results.

This variation of the traditional abdominal crunch exercise is particularly useful if you have problems with your neck or shoulders. This is because your upper body remains on the floor when doing this effective bodyweight movement.

Start slow with fewer reps. As you gain strength, increase your reps to make the reverse crunch even more challenging and effective.

Steps to do the reverse crunch exercise correctly

To do the reverse crunch correctly and safely, follow these steps:

  • Lie face up on the floor and keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your feet flat and position your hands on the sides with your palms facing down.
  • Engage your core and lift your feet. Raise your thighs until they get vertical. Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle throughout the exercise.
  • Move your knees toward your face without lifting your upper back, head, and shoulders from the floor. Only your hips and lower back should lift off the floor.
  • Hold the position at the top and lower your legs back toward the floor.
  • Repeat the exercise for at least 10 reps and try to increase your reps as you gain strength.


While reverse crunches are a simple exercise, here are some pointers to keep in mind to ensure you are performing the moves correctly:

  • Always perform this exercise slowly to prevent unnecessary strain.
  • When you crunch, your lower back and hips should only be the parts to come off the floor. Your upper and mid back, head, shoulders, and neck all need to stay in contact with the floor.
  • To balance properly, push your hands into the ground.
  • If you feel discomfort or sharp pain, stop immediately.

Adding the reverse crunch to your cardio workout routine will help boost your abs and core strength while defining your entire midsection. This exercise also promotes lower back stability and engages transverse abdominis to help you achieve a flat stomach.

Reverse crunches also activate external obliques located on the sides of the abdomen and help reduce side fat. Strengthening all the layers of the abdominal muscles prepares your body to perform various other vigorous athletic activities. It even helps you complete chores, where twisting and bending are some key movements, very easily and efficiently.

Variations to try

Many other reverse crunch variations target the same muscles and help you gain massive core strength. Once you’ve mastered the traditional reverse crunches, make things more intense by practicing the following variations.

1) Stability ball reverse crunch

To do this exercise correctly, follow the instructions below:

  • Lie down with your mid-back positioned under a stability ball. Keep your feet on the floor with your knees at 90 degrees, and ensure that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Position your hands behind your head, and start to crunch up as you would during the standard crunch.
  • Continue to crunch for a few reps, and remember to hold the position at the top movement.
  • Repeat the exercise for at least 12 reps and complete three sets.


2) Reverse crunch kick up

To do this exercise correctly, follow the instructions below:

  • Lie flat on the floor with your arms positioned on your sides and your abs engaged.
  • Keep your legs together and bend your knees to start the exercise.
  • Slowly pull your knees near your chest while lifting your hips to do a crunch. Continue the movement by kicking both legs out straight.
  • As you do the kick-up, ensure that your lower back gets lifted off the floor and your back is in the air.
  • Lower your legs down to the start and repeat.
  • Continue for 10 reps.



If you have neck pain, backache, or injuries, consult a doctor before attempting this exercise to determine whether it is safe for you.

While you can expect a burning sensation in your abs during a reverse crunch, you shouldn’t feel any sharp pain. However, if you do experience pain in your neck, back, or stomach, slow down and end the exercise. Avoid this exercise if you are pregnant.

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