If you desire to enhance your lower abdominal muscles, it’s time to vary your traditional core exercises (farewell, basic crunches). The reverse crunch workout focuses on the lower section of your rectus abdominis, says Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., a personal trainer in Los Angeles and the founder of Sweat Factor. Additionally, it targets your transverse abdominis (the innermost muscle of your abdomen) more effectively than conventional crunches. (See also: The Comprehensive Guide to Your Abdominal Muscles)
However, to reap these benefits and strengthen your abs, you must learn how to perform the reverse crunch exercise correctly. This means avoiding the use of your hands, arms, or worse, momentum. Learn the proper technique for reverse crunches with these user-friendly instructions and advice from Donavanik.
How to Perform a Reverse Crunch Exercise
A. Lie on your back in a traditional crunch position with your feet flat on the floor and your hands beneath your head, elbows spread wide.
B. Press your lower back into the floor and engage your core to lift your feet off the floor. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping them together.
C. Utilizing your core muscles, draw your knees toward your chest, causing your tailbone to lift off the ground. Simultaneously, perform a traditional crunch by lifting your shoulder blades off the floor and using your abs, not your hands, to raise your head and shoulders.
D. Gradually lower your shoulders, hips, and legs to return to the starting position. Stop when your feet are just above the floor.
E. Repeat the movement, ensuring that you don’t rely on momentum to complete the next repetition. Maintain intense engagement in your abs and keep your hands relaxed to prevent strain on your neck.
To simplify the reverse crunch exercise:
- Don’t lift your shoulders and hips as high during the movement.
- Lower your feet all the way to the floor at the end of each repetition.
To make the reverse crunch exercise more demanding:
- Straighten your legs just above the floor at the end of each repetition.
- Perform the reverse crunch with lifted shoulders and straight legs throughout the entire exercise.
Up Next: The Top Abs Exercises for a Comprehensive Core Workout, According to Trainers
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