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Crunch exercises done the right way

crunch exercises
(Image credit: Unknown)

Are you doing crunches until the cows come home but still finding you haven’t sculpted the perfect six-pack? The chances are you’re not working your abs hard enough. Like every other muscle group, they need increasingly heavy loads to keep growing. The fix is simple: start adding extra weight to the crunch to force your abs out of their comfort zone so they have no choice but to grow back bigger. Do this move at the end of your workout twice a week.

Dumbbell crunch

Sets 4
Reps 12

A

Lie on your back with knees bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand with bent elbows.

Dumbbell crunch

(Image credit: Unknown)

B

Contract your abs to lift your torso up, straightening your arms as your chest rises towards your knees to take the weights towards your feet. Pause at the top before lowering slowly back to the start.

Dumbbell crunch

(Image credit: Unknown)

Muscle tip

Like every other muscle, your abs are made up of two types of fibres: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Static holds, such as the plank, work both types at the same time by making your muscles work hard to maintain a stationary position for as long as possible. Along with these crunches (below), end your workouts with planks and side planks to work the entire core region. 

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.