Abdominal Crunch

Animated image courtesy of PhySys

Static image courtesy of Leonard Krasniqi



  • Abdominals (stomach)


  • Lie on your back and place legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Place fingers behind ears with the elbows out.
  • Most of the abdominal exercises can also be performed with free weights using a weight plate or dumbbell on the chest for additional resistance.


  • Maintain a constant chin angle and contract your stomach muscles only.
  • Your stomach will compress and your shoulders will rise up.
  • Hold the position momentarily and descend back down slowly.
  • Lower back and buttocks should remain flat on the floor at all times.
  • Repeat each 12-15 times.

VARIATIONS - No Weights:

Twist Crunch
  • Lie on the floor with legs propped on a step.
  • Place thumbs behind ears. Do not clasp hands.
  • Lift shoulders off the floor in one motion, exhaling as you lift.
  • With shoulder blades off the floor, rotate torso to the left.
  • Rotate back to the center, then to the right, then back to center.
  • As you lift and twist, contract abdominals.
Crunch Sit-Up
  • Lie face up on the floor, both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, fingers behind ears.
  • Contract abdominals, raising shoulders up off the floor.
  • Keep head in line with spine - do not tuck chin in to chest.
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
  • lower back should remain in contact with the ground throughout the exercise.
Knee Raise - Flat Bench
  • Sit on the end of a flat bench and support body weight on hands behind you.
  • Lean back slightly and straighten legs out in front of you.
  • Bend knees as you raise them towards chest as far as possible.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Perform the exercise slowly.
Knee Raise - Hanging
  • Hang from a chinning bar with a palm down grip about shoulder width apart.
  • Raise the knees towards right shoulder until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for one second and then lower legs to the starting position.
Knee Raise - Incline
  • Lie with head at the top of an inclined sit up board.
  • Reach overhead with both hands and hold the board for support.
  • Bend and pull knees slowly towards chest, keeping knees together.
  • Return to the starting position.
Knee Raise - Lying and Twisting
  • Lie face up on the floor with legs straight and fingers behind ears.
  • Raise right knee towards left elbow and left elbow towards right knee.
  • The movement should twist the upper body to the right and the lower body to the left.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat using left knee/right elbow.
Lateral Crunch
  • Lie on right side with both legs bent with thighs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Extend right arm on the floor, straight overhead.
  • Place left hand behind head and point elbow toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly lift rib cage toward hip without pressing on the floor with the right arm.
  • Do one set of reps and repeat on the other side.
Leg Raise - Flat Bench
  • Lie face up on a flat bench with legs off the end of the bench.
  • Place hands under buttocks with palms facing down.
  • Keeping knees bent, raise legs until thighs are in a vertical position.
  • Slowly lower legs until they are slightly above the floor.
  • This move can be done with stright legs as well.
Leg Raise - Hanging
  • Hang from a chinning bar with arms straight. Use an overhand grip about 24 inches apart.
  • Raise legs with knees bent until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Vary move by twisting knees to either side.
Leg Raise - Incline Board
  • Lie on an incline board face up with head at the top.
  • Reach overhead with hands and grasp the top of the board for support.
  • Keep legs straight and raise them to a vertical position above hips.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
Seated Ab Crunch
  • Sit on the edge of a bench with hands behind buttocks and grasp the sides of the bench.
  • Lean back slightly and extend legs out in front, keeping feet about 4 to 6 inches off the floor.
  • Bend knees and pull them in toward chest while leaning forward slightly with the upper body.
  • Slowly return to starting position, but do not let feet rest on the floor in between repetitions.
Sit-Up - Incline Board
  • Lie face up on an incline board with feet at the high end. Place feet under the foot strap.
  • Bend knees to a 45 degree angle and place both hands behind head.
  • Raise shoulders upward towards knees as far as possible. Do not pull on the neck, use the abdominals.
  • Return to the starting position.


Weighted Lower Abs
  • Secure ankle weights around ankles.
  • Lie on back on the floor with legs in the air and ankles crossed.
  • Contract abdominals and lift hips off the floor.
  • Slowly lower hips to the starting position and repeat.
Dumbbell Crunch
  • Lie on back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place a weight plate or dumbbell on chest and hold it by crossing arms over it.
  • Contract abdominals and lift torso, maintain proper alignment.
Standing Trunk Bend
  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, and palms resting at sides.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with arms at the sides.
  • Bend trunk to the right, keeping body facing forward.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat toward the left side.
Cable Crunch
  • Kneel in front of a cable station, grasp cables in front of chest just below chin.
  • Keep arms and elbows in close to body.
  • Contract the abdominals and bring chest toward knees, pulling the weight down.
  • Slowly come back up to kneeling position and repeat.
For images, see Wikipedia

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