What Is A Reverse Crunch: Engineering Your Perfect Core

by Josh | Last Updated:  August 28, 2020
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Abs and overall abdominal workout need to be as intense as it can be to push your body off-limits. This is the day of your schedule, where you are burning maximum calories to reach the desired shape of your abdominal. Hence, it’s no surprise that you need to perform tougher and tougher exercises to push your body above the average level of calorie burning.

What is a reverse crunch? Reverse crunches are a variation on the abdominal crunch, unlike popular crunches where your lower back and bent legs remain on the ground while the upper back is lifted, a reverse crunch is performed by lifting your legs and bringing them closer to your chest while your overall back, both upper and lower remains at rest.

You need to pick an exercise where you can motivate your body to do more and more repetitions as you reach your abs day’s desired goal at the end of the session. One of the exercises that you can pick is a reverse crunch.  Let’s dive in!

What are the Benefits of Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunch benefits are enormous; it is simply one of the best exercises to perform in your abs day, let’s discuss some of those benefits.

Guarantees a Great Shape

Reverse crunches engage with your abdominal in a great way which guarantees a great looking abdominal; when you are performing a reverse crunch, you are contracting your obliques and abs to lift your butt off the ground, this helps to activate major abdominal muscles and the obliques we talked about and improves your overall abdominal shape.

Strengthens Your Core

Reverse crunches are a powerful exercise; it provides you with a strong core which is crucial for performing various activities such as maintaining your balance, keeping a good posture, and overall body stability.

It also helps you perform better in sports and other activities which require fitness of the core.

Doesn’t Bend Your Neck and Spine

Reverse crunches start in a reasonably comfortable position. Unlike traditional crunches, where you might get a sore neck or spine due to bad position.

Reverse crunches are always more preferable if someone has discomfort with the position of the neck in traditional crunches. In Reverse crunches, your neck and spine are in a fairly comfortable position, and your spine and neck are not bent.

Reverse Crunch Tutorial

How To Do Reverse Crunches – Your Step By Step Guide

Reverse crunches are fairly easy to perform. Firstly, just lay down on your back and keep your arms at the sides (You can extend them towards the sides to use for balance if that’s more comfortable).

Starting Position

Strengthen your abs, bend your knees and slowly lift them over your hips and make sure that they are perpendicular to the floor or mat (at 90°) and then bring them towards your chest, strengthen the abs and gently curve your spine.

A female fitness instructor demonstrates the starting position of the reverse crunch - What Is A Reverse Crunch
A female fitness instructor demonstrates the starting position of the reverse crunch

Intermediate Position

Relax your back and neck, keep them in a stationary position and bring your hips and knees towards your chest, make sure that the 90° angle of your legs is maintained. Remember to exhale as you bring your hips towards your chest.

Final Position

Now, inhale and return to the starting position i.e., your hips on the mat and the initial angle. Now, do three sets of 10-15 repetitions of the exercise, increment the reps as you progress forward.

A female fitness instructor demonstrates the finishing position of the reverse crunch - What Is A Reverse Crunch
A female fitness instructor demonstrates the finishing position of the reverse crunch

Reverse Crunches VS Traditional Crunches

Although traditional crunches are good exercises, they are not exactly the best way to target your abdominal muscles. You need to do slow, calculated movements within your set to accurately activate your core.

Many people tend to perform crunches at best very poorly; any exercise, when done wrong, can have very harmful consequences.

What muscles does the reverse crunch work? Reverse crunches engage with all of your abdominal muscles at once and make it possible to achieve better results in reasonable proportions of reps.

Not to mention that during reverse crunches, your spine and neck are in a relatively comfortable position, therefore, reducing the risk of injuries or posture mistakes or any other type of discomfort you may run into while performing a regular crunch. Reverse crunches take the cake whenever the two are compared together.

What Other Exercises Can You Do Along With Reverse Crunches?

It’s always a good habit to do a plethora of abdominal workouts during your session to achieve maximum fitness. Adding variation to your workout session means targeting your abs in slightly different ways to hit every muscle.

Reverse crunches can be combined with many other ab exercises to increment the intensity of your workout, such as sit-ups, leg raises, hanging leg raises, etc.

What Muscles Does a Reverse Crunch Work?

As discussed above reverse crunches engage with all of your muscles. First and foremost, the primary muscle engaged during a reverse crunch is the Rectus Abdominis.

Rectus Abdominis is the muscle responsible for the six-pack shape you see in the abdominals of bodybuilders. Rectus Abdominis helps a person bend forward by flexing the spinal column of the body.

During a reverse crunch, you hit this muscle and build it by repeating the practice of bringing your hips closer to your chest. Other muscles that you work on during a reverse crunch include oblique and the transverses Abdominis.

Obliques are located at the sides of your Rectus Abdominis; exterior obliques help side bending, and perform rotations. It also helps in pulling the chest downwards and compressing the abdominal cavity.

Transverses Abdominis is a broadsheet of muscles located on the lateral sides of the abdominal walls. It is the deepest portion of the core abdominal muscles and helps stabilizing the pelvis and subsequently aid in movement and locomotion.

Reverse crunches activate all these muscles from the top to the very deepest portion of your core muscles and guarantee you a productive result of your intense workout session.

What Other Variations of Reverse Crunches Are There?

An excellent way to gently increment your fitness goals and the intensity of your sessions is to gradually move on to the same exercise’s more challenging variations.

This helps build up your pace and ensures that you keep progressing towards your goal. Once mastering the standard reverse crunch, you can move on to the other more difficult variations and challenge yourself!

Reverse Crunch with a Medicine Ball

This variation is done by holding a medicine ball between your legs as you perform the exercise, the added weight and concentration is a great way to challenge yourself to a new goal of keep holding the medicine ball.

This exercise is slightly more challenging to perform and has a higher pay off since the muscle contractions occurring to hold the ball throughout the exercise is greater than usual reverse crunches.

Reverse Crunch with Weights

This variation is done by holding a dumbbell between your legs as you perform the exercise; the enormous increase in weight and concentration makes the exercise hard to perform, but it’s worth it.

This is a great exercise to challenge yourself when you develop the strength to do it. Applying weight to reverse crunches is an excellent way of targeting your abdominal muscles.

Weighted Reverse crunches are harder than ones done using the medicine ball since dumbbells are way heavier than medicine balls.

Seated Reverse Crunch

This variation is done by holding a starting position on a bench. First, lean back on a bench and maintain a 45° angle with your torso.

Next, lift your feet, and hold them in the air, grip the bench with your hands to maintain the balance. Lift your knees to your chest then lower them slowly. Repeat the movements throughout the sets for every rep.

This exercise is one of the best reverse crunch variations, and you must try it on your abs day since the movements involved in this exercise are great to target your abdomen area.

Since your focus and strength are divided between lifting your legs near the chest and maintaining the balance, the core muscles are engaged and faster.

Reverse Crunch with Resistance Band

This variation is done by adding a resistance band to your exercise. Every bodybuilder already knows that there’s no good exercise without a necessary resistance.

In the case of body weight exercises, the resistance is your body weight resisting the pull of gravity. Adding a resistance band is an excellent way of incrementing the resistance involved in the exercise.

The more effort you put in pulling the legs towards you, the more you increment the reverse crunch benefits. For best results, attach the band to a pole and the other side to your ankles so you can exert maximum force.

Final Thoughts on What Is A Reverse Crunch

A reverse crunch along with all of the possible modifications available makes it overall one of the best exercises to do for your abs workout.

Since it works all the abdominal range it has much more abs-sculpting benefits that will help you achieve your desired results much quicker and making your abs day the most productive it can be.

Be sure to take all the necessary precautions and avoid the mistakes beginners do and stay healthy!

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.