Exactly How to Do a Reverse Crunch Exercise Once and For All

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

woman in workout clothes doing a reverse crunch exercise
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If you want to strengthen your lower abs, it's time to mix up your classic core moves (bye, basic crunches). The reverse crunch exercise hones in on the bottom portion of your rectus abdominis, says Mike Donavanik, C.S.C.S., an LA-based personal trainer and founder of Sweat Factor. Plus, they train your transverse abdominis (your innermost abdominal muscle) more than traditional crunches. (See also: The Complete Guide to Your Abs Muscles)

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

How to Do a Reverse Crunch Exercise

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

B. Press lower back into the floor and pull in 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 do 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 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 make the reverse crunch exercise easier:

  • 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 the reverse crunch exercise more challenging:

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

Up Next: The Best Abs Exercises for a Full Core Workout, According to Trainers

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