There’s nothing quite like an exercise that’s easy to do and that requires no equipment. That’s why people love doing crunches.

But there’s an epidemic of poor crunch form in the fitness world. Have you been wondering how to do crunches correctly? If so, we’ve got the answers for you.

Here’s a look at how to do crunches in a way that maximizes impact while minimizing injury risk.

Here’s an important thing to remember about how to do crunches correctly: It’s just as much about staying injury free as it is about getting desired results. Yes, you want to strengthen your core, but you also want to use a form that will help you avoid an injury that will put you on the couch for weeks or even months.


The Benefits of Crunches

Everyone wants to get 6-pack abs, muscles that look like they’re painting on. The main thing holding most people back from getting a 6-pack is belly fat. And, sadly, crunches aren’t going to help you winnow away that belly fat.

But, if you can do cardio and begin eating right, that belly fat is going to take care of itself over time. At that point, you’ll need to strengthen your abdominal muscles in order to get that elusive 6-pack.

And crunches are effective at strengthening your abdominal muscles. Crunches work your internal and external obliques, which run from hips to your ribs along the sides of your body. They also work your rectus abdominis, which runs from your pubic bone to your rib cage. And, finally, they work your deep abdominal muscle, which runs across your torso.

That’s right: Crunches work every major muscle group you need in order to get a 6-pack. That is, they work those muscle groups if you know how to do crunches correctly.


Step-by-Step: How to Do Crunches Correctly

So, here it is: Your step-by-step guide on how to do crunches correctly. Follow these steps on a daily basis, and you’ll begin to see results in no time:

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Cross your arms across your chest. While some people prefer placing their hands behind their hands, crossing arms over the chest helps you avoid straining your neck.
  2. Consciously suck your belly button closer to your spine, and then flex your abdominal muscles so that your shoulders rise from the floor.
  3. Keep your neck aligned and your chin straight up, and then exhale as your torso rises.
  4. Go as slowly and deliberately as possible for maximum effect, and be sure to pause at the top of your motion — breathing steadily the entire time.
  5. Remember that you’re not doing sit-ups. Your torso should only rise so that it reaches about a 45-degree angle. By limited the range of your torso, you’re ensuring that you engage the targeted muscles for the longest period of time possible.
  6. Lower your torso slowly, again keeping your neck aligned and your chin straight up. But don’t lower all the way back to the ground. Before you touch the ground, go into your second rep.
  7. Do as many reps as you can do while maintaining proper form. Shoot for somewhere between 10 and 20 as you’re getting started.


Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Crunches

Doing a crunch correctly sounds simple, right? It can be. Just make sure you avoid common mistakes, including:

  • Holding Your Breath: Don’t forget to breathe. Try to time each rep so that you exhale at the start of it. Failing to breathe places undue stress on your body, which can lead to injury.
  • Relaxing: You want to maximize the impact on your abdominal muscles, which means those muscles should be engaged as long as possible. That’s why it’s important to go slowly and deliberately — it prevents you from relaxing on the way down, which won’t engage your muscles.
  • Relying on Momentum: You want to use your muscles while doing crunches. If you’re relying on momentum to raise and lower your torso, you’re just wasting your time.
  • Going Too High or Too Low: Again, these are crunches rather than sit-ups. The best way to keep your muscles engaged is to limit your torso’s range of motion. So don’t go too high or too low.


Final Thoughts on How to Do Crunches Correctly

Here’s one last thing to consider before you jump into doing crunches: It’s far better to do fewer reps correctly than it is to do a bunch of reps incorrectly. So take time to get your form down, and then build the number of reps you can do over time. When you combine this approach with diet and cardio, you’ll find those abdominal muscles peeking through in no time.

Do you use a modified approach to crunches? If so, send us a note through our contact page, or you can always leave a comment in the section below.