6 Types Of Crunches, Benefits, How To Do, & Important Tips

Get those ripped abs of your dreams while targeting your core strength and muscles.

Reviewed by Rakesh Rathod, Certified Personal Trainer
Written by Shirin Mehdi
Edited by Arshiya Syeda
Fact-checked by Himanshi Mahajan, Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

If you are someone familiar with the various kinds of exercises, you must be aware of the benefits of crunches as well! If not, fret not, we got you covered here! Crunches are abdominal exercises that mainly target your core muscles. Those chiseled 6-packs you see and adore are all a result of rigorous training that involves a variety of crunches, such as bicycle crunches, oblique crunches, twisted crunches, swiss ball crunches, and v-sit crunches along with other exercises. They are great core workouts that strengthen your core muscles with your own body weight. These work by flexing and releasing your core abdominal muscles helping lose fat and build lean muscle mass alongside. While they don’t need any specific equipment and can be done anywhere anytime, you can do crunches with weights as well!

A 2020 study analyzed the gender-based preference for fitness exercises in North Americans. It was a mixed-method study that involved 342 males and 327 females from the US and Canada. Overall, both males and females reported crunches to be one of their preferred exercises. 64.2% of males and 52.3% of females reported having a high perceived self-efficacy. Only 12.87% of males expressed concerns about doing crunches, as they found them strenuous for their bodies.

To know more about the benefits of crunches and how you should go about doing them, read on!

protip_icon Crunches
  • Frequency: 2-3 times per week
  • Benefits: Strengthen your core and improve mobility and flexibility.
  • Equipment Needed: Exercise mat, dumbbells
  • Space Required: Small area
  • Assistance Required: No
  • Who Should Avoid: Anyone with a history of back pain, spine problems, or neck issues and pregnant women

Here Are Some Types Of Crunches, How To Do Them, And Their Benefits

1. The Basic Crunch:

The basic crunch is done by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head, then you rise up to meet your pelvis using the shoulders and the core to maintain and propel you forward. Injuries can happen if you pull yourself forward on your neck or your head, using the strength of your hands. To avoid this risk, half crunches are a good place to start.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Beginners can start with 3 sets of 10-12 crunches daily to work on their abdominal muscles. Gradually increase the number of sets as per your comfort and goals.

2. Reverse Crunch:

Reverse crunches are done by lying flat on your back and putting your leg up at 90 degrees like you do while doing leg raises. Place your hands facing the ground on either side of your body. If you are starting out, you can place your hands behind your hip for added support. Then, using your core muscles in a controlled manner; pull up your legs and hips towards the ceiling while bringing your knees towards your chest. Then return to the start position. During this exercise, try not to use too much momentum or to do it so fast that you hurt yourself. Repeat as many times as you can.

3. Vertical Leg Crunch:

To do vertical leg crunches, lie flat on your back with your arms straight. Lift your legs together and heels facing the ceiling till it is directly above your hips. Then raise your arms to almost touching the feet with your fingers while pulling in your belly button to stabilize your position using your ab muscles. Your torso will look almost like a U shape. Breathe slowly, control the movement and repeat for 8-15 reps.

4. Long Arm Crunches:

To do this crunch, lie flat on your back with your knees propped up. If you want more resistance you can keep your legs straight out. Your arms should be above your head. Clasp them together. Using your core muscles, lift the upper part of your body. Make sure not to strain your neck. Repeat it 8-15 times.

5. Bicycle Crunch:

This workout not only worked the rectus abdominis but also works the upper abs. You can do this workout by lying flat on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift your knees off the floor towards your chest. First, rotate to the right and try to meet the left knee with the right elbow while you extend the right leg straight out, and then do the opposite side by trying to meet the right knee with the left elbow.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Bicycle crunches target not only your upper abdominal muscles but also your obliques, deep abs, hamstrings, and quads.

6. Double Crunches:

This is a basic crunch and reverse-crunch exercise together. Just lie on your back with your knees at a 90-degree angle and hands behind your head. Lift up your hips off the floor like in a crunch and lift up the shoulder blades off the floor like in a basic crunch. Try to squeeze the core and control the position. Then return to the start position.

Pros And Cons Of Doing Crunches


  • Help prevent injuries and reduce back pain.
  • Are easy to perform and do not require any special equipment.
  • Improve balance and stability like any core exercise.
  • Help reduce muscle pain and improve posture.
  • Have several variations targeting different parts of the core that help break the monotony in your workout routine.


  • Improper form can lead to injury (pulling your neck can strain your neck).
  • Repeating the same form without any variation may lead to muscle imbalance and cause injury.
  • Is not suitable for people with certain conditions like a herniated disc or lower back problems.

Infographic: Mistakes To Avoid While Doing Crunches

Crunches are one of the most popular exercises in abs training and they also improve flexibility and endurance. There are different variations of crunches that you can try at home. However, maintaining posture and following the right movements are crucial to avoid cramps and pains. Check out the infographic to know the common mistakes to avoid while doing crunches.

mistakes to avoid while doing crunches (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Crunches are the best to strengthen your core muscles, lose fat in the abdomen, and get well-defined six-pack abs. You don’t require any equipment to do these exercises. So, you can do them wherever you wish to, be it at home or outdoors. However, the key here is to maintain a good posture and form to avoid getting injured. Also, start with fewer reps and gradually increase the number as you feel comfortable. Complement this workout plan with a good diet to see the results for yourself in a few months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it healthy to do crunches every day?

Yes. Doing crunches every day is healthy and safe if you perform just a few sets.

Do crunches slim your waist?

Yes. Crunches and more specifically exercises like Russian twists, plank twists, and side plank crunches help tighten and tone the muscles around your abdomen, giving your stomach a flat look.

Which is better – plank or crunches?

Planks are better than crunches as they target a wider range of muscles and help build a stronger core from shoulders to glutes. Crunches are good for building ab muscles.

What is the best time to do crunches?

It is considered healthier to do crunches in the morning or before a meal to avoid the risk of back pain.

Which is harder – sit-ups or crunches?

Sit-ups activate more muscles than crunches and have a wider range of motion, making them comparatively harder.

Key Takeaways

  • Crunches help strengthen abdominal muscles.
  • They target the rectus abdominis muscle, also called the “six-pack muscle”.
  • Crunches can help prevent lower back pain and improve one’s posture.
  • It is essential to maintain a proper form and posture while performing crunches to avoid injuries.

Calling all fitness beginners! Learn the right way to perform crunches. Get the best abs exercises with this fitness video. Take a look at the easy-to-follow guide in the video below to get fit and toned..

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