If you haven’t done reverse crunch, but want to work your way towards six-pack abs, perhaps that is the missing ingredient. Learn all you need to know about the reverse crunch below.
The reverse crunch is an effective exercise that targets your abs, but somehow most people fail to do them. Don’t be like most people.
How To Do the Reverse Crunch
As with most ab exercises, you will only need to lie down on the floor, or floor mat, to be able to perform the reverse crunch.
- Lie down on the floor mat facing up with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your arms should be straight near the side of your body.
- This is the initial position.
- Brace your core and lift your feet off the ground by curling up your hips and moving your knees toward your chest.
- Slightly continue lifting your legs until your lower back is off the mat, but your mid-back is still in contact with the floor.
- Keep your head straight aligned with your spine at all times. Arms and hands should be parallel and next to your body.
- Slowly lower your feet back to the initial position.
- That is one rep.
You can make the exercise harder by keeping your feet off the ground at all times. This will keep your abs under tension for the entire duration of the exercise. If you keep your legs straight while descending, it also adds another layer of difficulty to this exercise and aiming to lift your legs up instead of bringing your knees toward your chest.
This exercise targets only your abs.
- Rectus abdominis
The rectus abdominis is also known as the six-pack muscle. The reverse crunch will target what is commonly referred to as the upper abs and lower abs.
Mistakes to Avoid
A common mistake people tend to do with this exercise is to use momentum. As it is common with other ab exercises, you need to avoid using the momentum of your body to help you lift your legs. If you are unable to perform the exercise, do normal crunches as it is considered an easier variation of the reverse crunch.
A sign that your abs are not strong enough is if you are arching your back. This is common when you are lowering your legs to the initial position and it can leave you open to injuries.
If you choose to do the advanced version of the reverse crunch, without touching your feet on the floor and with straight-up legs, check out the video below by Jeff Cavaliere to see more mistakes you should be avoiding and how to fix them.
The biggest benefit of this exercise is that it targets your rectus abdominis, your six-pack abs muscles as the primary function of this muscle is to flex your trunk and spine. However, only exercise will not give you six-pack abs, as more important than any workout is what you are eating.
Compared to some other ab exercises, such as the normal crunch, the reverse version takes away the strain off your neck. Some people use their hands to elevate their torso when doing normal crunches, which puts a lot of pressure on the neck. By performing lifting your legs toward your body, you are more likely to use your abs than any other muscle in your body to do the movement.
The same can be said about your back muscles. Bending your spine during traditional crunches can be detrimental according to this study and the reverse crunch can be adjusted to flex your spine less than the traditional crunch.
For its easy setup, this exercise can be performed nearly anywhere.
Cons of the Reverse Crunch
Now that you know the benefits, you should also keep in mind the negative side of this exercise.
Unfortunately, this is not the most complete ab exercise you could perform. The reverse crunch will barely target your obliques, the side of your abs, which is the muscle responsible for twisting your torso.
How Many Reps and Sets?
Reverse crunches should be added to your normal training routine. As you found out, it is not the answer to having six-pack abs, but it will help you get closer to your goals.
As part of your core training, you should aim to do 3 sets of 12-20 repetitions of the reverse crunch.
If it is too hard, lower to 2 sets and have a bigger rest period between the sets. If it is too easy, you can add a resistance band to make the exercise even more difficult