Muscles Targeted: The reverse abdominal crunch is an isolation exercise that focuses on the entire rectus abdominis and really hits the lower abs very well. With just this one exercise, you can target your upper and lower abdominals and help strengthen your overall core muscles.
Exercise Instructions: Lie on your back onto the floor using a mat. Place your arms by your sides with your feet up and your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Using your lower abs, bring your knees up to your chest while simultaneously crunching your upper body and placing maximum tension on your abdominals. Return slowly to the starting position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: The number one reason that people give for going to the gym is to work on their abdominals to get a lean and sexy stomach. However, some people are put off by doing many abdominal exercises because they are very hard to do and many of the machines in the gym are difficult to use. With reverse abdominal crunches, you can avoid this issue since it’s a fairly easy exercise to perform and you can do it anywhere. It will tone and tighten your entire abdominal region and strengthen your core muscles at the same time. Along with a clean diet and cardio exercise, this will help you lose body fat from around your midsection and achieve a flat stomach.
Things To Avoid: Form is very important when doing reverse abdominal crunches. Always protect your spine by laying on a cushioned surface like a mat, rather than just a towel on the floor. Do not use momentum when coming up, instead you should contract your abdominal muscles as you come up and use it as your lever. Move slowly, concentrating on proper form as you do each repetition. Do not hold your breath. Exhale pushing all the air out as you curl your body up into the crunch position and then slowly inhale as you release. Emptying your lungs will provide a better contraction in your abs as you crunch up. Your abs should be tight throughout the exercise. Do not relax as you slowly return to your starting position.
The best position for beginners is having your knees close to the body. As you progress through this exercise, you can put some distance between these two body parts for additional stretch and tension. Your palms should face down on the floor, but make sure that you do not draw force from them. Having your hands outstretched on the sides will give you the balance you need. Do not push your neck up too high as this might cause injury.
Reps and Sets: For beginners, concentrate on doing reverse abdominal crunches properly rather than focusing on the overall number of reps. A good starting target is 8-10 repetitions for 2-3 sets. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do that many reps. Quality is more important here. As you master the exercise, increase the reps by small increments. Work up to doing 20-30 reps for 3-5 sets for each workout. It is not advisable to do this exercise daily. Instead, focus on training your abs 2-3 days per week to see the best results. Remember that your abs are muscles and they need to recover fully between workouts in order get stronger.
Other Exercises To Use: Although reverse abdominal crunches target the entire abdominal region, you should include other exercises into your workout to mix it up and keep your muscles guessing. Try bent knee abdominal hip raises for the lower abs, abdominal butt raises for the middle and upper abs, and the oblique crunches for the love handles. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.