Reverse Crunches are a much better use of your time than traditional Crunches.
Traditional Crunches put unnecessary pressure on your spine. Reverse Crunches are a more intuitive, efficient movement, and they can help you get a shredded, strong core while avoiding the pitfalls of the common Crunch.
This makes them an excellent addition to any ab workout.
One of the most common mistakes with the Reverse Crunch is lowering the knees too fast. This causes hyperextension of the lumbar spine (a.k.a. an arched lower back), a position that can be dangerous.
"If you control the lowering part of the rep, you never have to go into the position of hyperextension of the lumbar spine (arched lower back), which is a position I believe to be more injurious than the hyperflexion position (rounded lower back)," says Dr. John Rusin, a physical therapist, strength coach and owner of DrJohnRusin.com.
If you do the exercise right and with the proper tempo, the movement comes from the t-spine and rib cage, not the lumbar spine like a traditional Crunch.
When you perform a rep slowly and under control, your abs and obliques contract to bring your butt off the ground, hold the top of the movement and control the descent. Your muscles work at high intensity for a long duration—one of the keys to building muscle.
"It feels like you got kicked in the stomach a couple of times after you do them," says Rusin.
How to Perform Reverse Crunches
- Lie back on a bench with your thighs perpendicular to the ground. Place a foam roller between your hamstrings and calves and squeeze the roller.
- Place your hands over your head and grab the edge of the bench.
- Forcefully contract your abs to lift your butt off the bench and your knees up above your chest. Hold this position for one or two seconds with a maximal ab contraction.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position until your butt is on the bench and your thighs are perpendicular to the ground.
Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 8-12 reps