How do you train your abs? For a lot of guys the answer is using sit-ups. But sit-ups aren't an effective exercise to train your abs. Worse they can get you injured. Here's a better exercise to get your six pack – the Reverse Crunch.
The Problem with Sit-ups. First they're no fun. Everybody hates sit-ups. Next most of you shouldn't do sit-ups, especially if you have bad posture.
- Shorten Hip Flexors. Excessive sitting shortens your hip flexors. Sit-ups aggravate the problem. They work your hip flexors more than your abs.
- Slouching Shoulders. Good posture is chest up, shoulder-blades back & down. You get the opposite with sit-ups: round back, head forward.
- Back Pain. Common way to cheat on sit-ups is arching your lower back. Guaranteed way to get back pain in the long term.
The Reverse Crunch. The opposite movement of a Sit-up is a Reverse Crunch. It doesn't cause the same problems. Better it can fix your posture.
- Strengthen Your Abs. More specifically your external obliques. If you never did Reverse Crunches, you'll get sore abs the first time.
- Correct Lordosis. The Reverse Crunch teaches you to tilt your pelvis posteriorly and strengthens your abs. This corrects lordosis.
- Prevent Kyphosis. You don't get any depression of your ribcage like on sit-ups. This prevents upper-back rounding: kyphosis.
Reverse Crunch Video. Pay attention to the technique. Upper-thighs don't go back further than perpendicular to the floor. Lower back goes against the floor at the start of each rep. Movement comes from the abs.
Reverse Crunch Technique. Lie back on the floor. Flex your knees. Raise your knees against your head by crunching your abs. Come back. Use a dumbbell or medicine ball as counter weight.
- Tilt Your Pelvis Back. Push your lower back against the floor on each rep. You shouldn't be able to put your hands under your back.
- Keep Your Feet Down. Don't let them come up during the movement. Keep your knees flexed, close to your glutes.
- Keep Your Head Down. Knees move towards your head, head doesn't move towards your knees. Keep your head on the floor.
- Work Your Abs. Avoid working your hip flexors. Don't let your legs come past perpendicular to the floor on the way down.
Common Mistakes. Lack of strength can make your body compensate when doing Reverse Crunches. Some things that can go wrong:
- Arching Your Lower Back. Bad for your spine. Posteriorly tilt your pelvis at the start of each rep. Push your lower back against the floor.
- Extending Your Knees. Makes the movement easier. Put something between your legs, like a foam roller, so you can't cheat.
- Coming Down too Far. Involves your hip flexors. Don't let your thighs come down further than perpendicular to the floor.
- Moving Your Head up. Causes forward head posture and is cheating. Keep your head on the floor. Move your knees toward your head.
Reverse Crunch Progressions. More strength is more muscle. Your abs must get stronger if you want them to be more muscular. Keep the Reverse Crunch challenging.
- Decrease The Weight. Hold to a 45lbs/20kg dumbbell or heavy medicine ball. Lower the weight as your abs get stronger.
- Remove The Weight. Reverse crunches without counter weight. Keep your hands behind your head and crunch your abs.
- Switch to Dragon Flags. Keep your hips & knees straight and Crunch your abs. Check Dragon Door's how to.
You can add the Reverse Crunch to StrongLifts 5x5. Do 3x10 at the end of each workout. But remember it's an accessory exercise. Squat & Deadlift for overall muscle mass. Then lose the fat to get the 6 pack.