Ab Crunches Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Crunches are one of the most common exercises for your abdominal muscles. Similar to a sit-up, crunches involve lifting the upper body up off the floor or mat using your core. It’s important to not crunch so high that the exercise becomes a sit-up, because that will take emphasis off of your abdominals and onto your hip flexors.

Ab Crunches
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How to do Ab Crunches


Lay supine on mat with lower legs on table. Place hands on arms.


Start off lying on the floor, face up, with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Reach your arms up towards the ceiling. Then before you start the movement, engage your core by drawing your belly button and waist down towards your spine. Also, tuck your chin in slightly as if you are holding a tennis ball between your chin and chest.

Then slowly, tense your upper abdominals to lift your head, then neck, then shoulders and upper back off the floor as you reach forwards and up with your hands. Keep you lower back on the floor and do not let it arch away from the floor.

From this top position, slowly lower your upper back, then shoulders, then neck and head back to the floor ready to repeat the next repetition. Continue this small focused movement and contraction of your core muscles for the duration of the exercise.


  • When you have bad hands, put your weapons at your sides instead of behind your back. Be sure you don't raise your body through the sprint and the balance depends entirely on your stomach muscles.

  • For more of a test, do this on an exercise ball or when sitting on a rejected table.


  • Leg elevation keeps pelvis tilted back, keeping low back on mat.

  • Certain individuals may need to keep their neck in neutral position with space between their chin and sternum.

  • Don't pull your shoulders up with your hands. Instead, use your abs to raise off the floor.

  • Certain individuals may need to keep their neck in neutral position with space between their chin and sternum, particularly if hands are placed behind head.

  • Don't come up too high.

  • Raise your upper body just enough to get your shoulder blades off the floor.

Exercise Benefits

  • Core Strength

  • Cardio

  • Full-body Strength

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do ab crunches from this step-by-step illustrations:

Ab Crunches 1
Ab Crunches 2
Ab Crunches 3
Ab Crunches 4
Ab Crunches 5
Ab Crunches 6

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for ab crunches may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for ab crunches are:

Primary Muscles

  • Abs

Synergyst Muscles

  • Obliques

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles do Ab Crunches work?
Ab Crunches work abs.
What are Ab Crunches good for?
Ab Crunches are beneficial for conditioning, for endurance, for weight loss, love handles, side fat, to lose fat and to strengthen. They work the best for core and waist, as they work abs. Ab Crunch is is a great bodyweight exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Ab Crunch a good exercise?
Ab Crunch is a popular bodyweight exercise for abs.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Ab Crunches faster?

Ab Crunches Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Ab Crunches and how should you?

Ab Crunches Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Ab Crunches Alternatives


Wonder how to make Ab Crunches either easier or more challenging?

Ab Crunches Variations

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Type(s) Bodyweight, Calisthenic, Strength, Isolated, Aerobic, Cardio, Endurance
Muscles Worked Abdominals, Obliques
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Easy, Simple
Equipment No Equipment, Exercise Ball
Location At Gym, At Home, Outdoor

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Abs
Synergyst muscle(s) Obliques

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