Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Ab Crunches?

September 21st, 2015

Dear Sarah,

How do I know if I am doing crunches correctly and are they really effective?


Dear Lori,
An abdominal crunch is a very effective workout for your abs, as it works both your rectus and transversus abdominis.

The transversus abdominis is the deepest core abdominal muscle and greatly affects your torso and spine. This muscle acts like a natural weight belt; it is essential for torso stability.

The rectus abdominis is the most superficial (at the surface) of the six abdominal muscles and is the one we often refer to as the “six pack.” Its function is to flex the spine, bringing the rib cage closer to the pelvis.

Here are a few easy steps that will help you get the most out of your crunches.

Starting position:

  • Lie with your back down on a mat
  • Bend your knees
  • Place feet flat on the floor, about 1 1/2 to 2 feet from your buttocks
  • Place your fingers behind your ears, elbows back
  • Press your lower back into the mat

The Crunch:

  • Contract your abdominal muscles
  • Slowly peel your shoulder blades off the floor as you shift your ribs towards your hips, crunching
  • Pause at the top
  • Slowly lower back down


  • Hold a plate to your forehead
  • Hold a plate across your chest
  • Place only your toes on the floor, creating a deeper contraction in your low abs

Common Faults:

  • Pulling on your head
  • Not controlling your movements
  • Performing your crunch too quickly
  • Lifting too high
  • Holding your breath

Here is another interesting article – Are ab crunches bad