The reverse crunch targets your lower abs for an overall strong core. Here's how to ace that form.

By K. Aleisha Fetters
Updated April 20, 2020
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If you want to sculpt your lower abs, it's time to mix up your classic core moves. Reverse crunches hone in on the bottom portion of your rectus abdominis to take your four-pack to a six-pack, says Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., LA-based personal trainer and founder of Sweat Factor. Plus, they train your transverse abdominis (your innermost abdominal muscle) more than traditional crunches. (Related: The Complete Guide to Your Abs Muscles).

But to reap these rewards, you need to know how to do reverse crunches properly. That means not letting your hands, arms, or, even worse, momentum, do the work. Learn how to do reverse crunches the right way with these easy-to-follow ab workout instructions and advice from Donavanik. 

How to Do a Reverse Crunch

A. Lie on the ground in a traditional crunch position, feet flat on the floor and hands underneath the head, elbows wide.

B. Press lower back into the floor and pull in the belly button to lift feet off the floor. Bend knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping them together. 

C. Using core, draw knees toward chest so that tailbone raises off the ground. Simultaneously perform a traditional crunch, lifting shoulder blades off the floor and using abs, not hands, to lift head and shoulders. 

D. Slowly lower shoulders, hips, and legs to return to the starting position. Stop when feet are just above the floor.

E. Repeat the movement, making sure not to use momentum to power the next rep. Focus on keeping abs engaged and hands relaxed to avoid pulling on neck. 

To modify: 

  • Don't lift shoulders and hips as high throughout the move.
  • Lower feet all the way to the floor at the end of each rep.

To make it more challenging:

  • Straighten legs just above the floor at the end of each rep.
  • Perform the reverse crunch with shoulders lifted and legs straight the entire time.

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