10 Ways to Crunch

Crunches are a key part of any ab routine, but it’s good to expand beyond the basic crunch to get the most benefit. Pairing crunches with other ab exercises is a winning combination, so check out this 5-minute ab workout or this barre ab burner for a balanced routine.

For this post, I’m going to focus different ways to crunch, which was inspired by my workout yesterday morning. I did a little TurboFire workout: 25 minute HIIT and 10 minute Abs DVD.

Turbo Fire Abs

It was my first time doing the abs DVD and I am SORE today. My abs are still very weak from pregnancy, so it felt nice to give them a good workout. I loved the combo of moves Chalene put together, but was kind of bummed with the lack of lower leg lifts and planks (which are much more functional than crunches). We did a lot of crunches and it helped me to remember some of my old forgotten favorites.

Here are 10 different types of crunches if you’d like to add a little zing in your abs routine:

10 Ways to Crunch

10 Crunches to Add to Your Ab Workout

*As always, check with a doc before making any fitness changes

1) Standard crunch

For beginners, cross your arms on your chest. Level 2 will bring their elbows out to the sides, level 3 will have arms straight, glued next to their ears and even hold a light dumbbell. Exhale as you bring your shoulders off the floor and draw your belly button in towards your spine. Don’t depend on momentum- keep it slow and controlled.

2) Bicycle crunch

bicycle crunch

Remember to keep your elbows out, in line with your ears and lead with your shoulder, not your elbow.

3) Reverse crunch

For this one, you can have your hands behind your head (more challenging) or under your lower back. Bring your legs up and try to lift your hips to press your toes towards the ceiling.

4) Double crunch

double crunch 

As your shoulders rise off the floor, hips also come up, drawing knees in closer to your chest.

5) Frog crunch

frog crunch crunch and hover

Exhale as you try to meet knees to elbows (keeping your elbows in line with your ears), lower down and straighten legs out to a hover.

6) Side-to-side crunch

side-to-side crunch

Come up into a regular crunch, and engaging your obliques, bring your torso towards the side and “chop” with your hand at your ankle. Back to center, then to the opposite side.

7) Circle obliques

circle obliques 

Hands in fists with thumbs pointed towards you, as you crunch up and exhale, bring your right shoulder off the ground toward your left knee and begin to make a circular pattern with your torso.

Complete the “body circle” by lifting your left shoulder off the ground as you continue to crunch your abs. Complete all of your reps on one side before switching to the other.

8) Pullover crunch

pull over crunch pullover crunch 2

Start with legs in a hover position. As you exhale, bring your legs up, shoulders off the ground and arms out parallel to the floor.

9) Roll-up

roll up

Bring your arms at chest level, straight in front of you, as you engage you abs, exhale and slowly roll up into the pictured position. Roll back slowly to your back with arms in front, then lower back to your ears.

10) Crunch and hover

crunch and hover crunch and hover 2

Shoulders come up as knees come in, lower shoulders down as you extend legs to a hover.

Challenge Yourself with Crunches

-Play with tempo: up fast, down slow; up slow, down fast; up for 2 counts, down for 2; pulsing at the middle portion of the movement; etc

-Focus on your breath. As you engage your abs to crunch up, exhale and bring your belly button towards your spine

-Think about contracting your abs while exercising and even during everyday activities


Remember, the best way to get awesome abs is with a consistent cardio routine (varying intensities) and clean eating. You really use your abs all day (picking up things from the floor, putting dishes away, bending over, holding your body upright and stable), so there’s no really to go crazy with an ab routine if you’re doing your cardio and eating well. When I first got into fitness, I did abs almost everyday for at least a half hour because I wanted a six pack. It doesn’t really work that way.

How often, if at all, do you work out your abs? Remember to work your entire core, especially your lower back, for more effective training.

For more ab ideas, check out the ab burners on the fitness page– quick and fiery- and this reader’s request about fab abs.

Have a great day, friends <3



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