Overview: The side bridge crunch is a very effective abdominal movement that targets your obliques and leads to increased core strength. It should be a staple exercise in your core training routine especially if you are working on tightening up your love handles. This is an effective alternative to traditional sit-ups as it engages several different muscle groups and also strengthens the trunk stabilizers. The side bridge crunch is an excellent exercise for anyone who wants to tone and tighten their midsection while strengthening their core muscles.
Muscle Targeted: The side bridge crunch mainly focuses on the abdominals and the obliques which are part of your overall core. The internal and external obliques are the primary muscles engaged with this movement and it also helps to stabilize your spine. For secondary muscles, it also strengthens your shoulders, chest and legs as it requires you to balance on one arm during the range of motion. This movement is very similar to the side plank so it’s an excellent exercise for building strength and balance in your entire body!
Exercise Advice: Place a padded mat on the ground and position yourself on your side. Place your left forearm on the ground under your shoulder and raise your body in the air to place yourself in a side bridge or “plank” position. Place your right hand behind your head and while keeping your hips up in bridge position, twist your top elbow down and touch the floor as you “crunch” your core muscles. Return to starting position to complete a full repetition. Perform a specific number of reps on one side and then repeat the same process on the opposite side to complete a full set.
Things To Avoid: The forearm you use to prop yourself into the air should not be too far forward or backward in relation to your shoulders as you want to ensure your shoulder is directly in line with the elbow you are propped up on. You should be conscious of your spine and neck alignment and avoid a bent back and keep your neck straight in order to keep it aligned. Avoid moving your hips and feet during the entire exercise and keep them stacked to achieve the correct posture. Beginners may choose a staggered feet position to achieve more balance and revert to the stacked position once the side bridge crunch has been mastered. If you have neck problems or injuries to the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, you should avoid doing this exercise. As with all exercises, you should discontinue if you feel pain or discomfort.
Reps and Sets: The number of reps and sets you perform with the side bridge crunch should revolve around your fitness goals and stamina. Beginners should try to keep the number of repetitions low and focus on getting the technique down first before increasing the intensity of this movement with more repetitions. Begin with only 1-5 reps since this is an advanced exercise which takes coordination and balance. Once you get more advanced, increase the rep range to 8-15 repetitions with 4-5 sets to really build abdominal, oblique and core strength. Make sure you rest for 90-120 seconds between each set in order to fully recover before starting again. You can perform this core exercise 1-3 times per week for the best results.
Other Exercises To Use: A few other excellent core exercises that can be used along with the side bridge crunch include the Squirm Crunch, 2-Point Side Bridge and Russian Twists. These are core exercises that also target the abdominals and are sure to give your obliques a great workout. Combine these exercises during your workout session in order to ensure that you get a great workout that strengthens your core muscles and overall balance!