The crunch and its variations are essential exercises for strengthening your abdominal muscles. Using a wide variety of movements, they work different areas of your abdominals which makes this a very effective exercise. While the traditional crunch specifically targets the upper part of your abdominals, the reverse crunch focuses on the lower part, which is the most difficult area to work. Let’s take a closer look at this great exercise that will get you abs of steel.
The reverse crunch is an abdominal exercise that anyone can do. However, if done incorrectly, it can cause back pain. To avoid this and effectively strengthen your abdominals, here’s how to do this strength training exercise correctly:
Starting position: Lying on your back, place your arms at your sides and your hands under your buttocks with your palms on the floor. Your legs should be lifted and bent at a 90° angle
The movement: Lift your hips as you bring your knees to your chest. Then, gently release your legs back to the starting position
‘Focus on contracting your abdominal muscles’: Moving your legs shouldn’t be what lifts your hips. Contracting your muscles should.
‘Control the movement from start to finish’: As you lift your hips and return to the starting position, you need to control the movement and not rush it. This will give you better abdominal strengthening.
‘Only lift your hips’: There’s no need to lift the rest of your back. Doing so may result in back injury.
‘Don’t put your feet back on the floor’: Between each repetition, your feet need to stay in the air and not touch the floor. This works your abdominals during the entire set.
The reverse crunch works all the abdominal muscles, particularly the lower ones. Here’s an outline of what muscles are worked when doing reverse crunches
Rectus abdominis: This is the most superficial abdominal muscle and it extends from the pubis to the upper part of the chest. The rectus abdominis creates the ‘sixpack’ effect once its welldeveloped. With the reverse crunch, you work the lower part.
Obliques: The external and internal obliques make up the sides of the abdominals. They tighten up the abdomen and by doing so, they efficiently slim down your waistline.
Pyramidalis: This small, triangular muscle is made up of two long, symmetrical parts. They’re located below the abdomen, just in front of the rectus abdominis.
As mentioned earlier, crunches can be done in a variety of ways to target different abdominal muscles. You’ll find these ideal exercises using your Cal Burner Addon and in the Flat Stomach Focus programme* to efficiently work your muscles and keep you motivated and in excellent shape as you target specific areas of your body. Here are two exercises that can either complete or replace the reverse crunch:
The rower: Preferably while sitting on an exercise mat, place your hands on the floor beside you to keep your balance. Extend your legs out, then bring them to your chest as you inhale. Exhale as you extend your legs out. To make this exercise more difficult, you can keep your hands lifted off the floor.
Oblique crunches:Start in the same position as the reverse crunch. The rest of the movement is completely different. Lift your chest and lightly twist it to the side as you bring your elbow close to your opposite knee. Then, return to the starting position before repeating on the other side of the body
The greatest benefit of the reverse crunch is that it strengthens your abdominal muscles. It’s one of the only exercises that specifically targets the lower abdominals and the rectus abdominis. This is good to know because this is the most difficult section to build. For a more complete strength training workout, you can try different variations of the reverse crunch,
specifically targeting your obliques with the oblique crunch, or the upper part of your rectus abdominis.
Doing these crunches regularly and correctly means you’ll quickly get abs of steel. From an aesthetic point of view, to get a flat stomach you should also do corestrengthening exercises like plank rotations in addition to your other exercises.
They’re better at targeting the transverse abdominis, the deepest abdominal muscle that gives you the ‘flat stomach’ effect.
This strength training exercise comes with other major benefits for your body. Strong abdominal muscles contribute to your body’s general equilibrium and promote good posture. Abdominal strengthening is quite often an essential part of physiotherapy to correct poor posture. It also maintains your intestines and organs within the abdomen, while making breathing and digestion easier.
If you have any more questions about the reverse crunch or its variations, feel free to get in touch!
*FizzUp PRO feature