How to Do Side Crunches

How to Do Side Crunches

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Add weight to increase the challenge. Images

The internal and external obliques form a V-shaped component of the abdominal wall. The side crunch exercise challenges the primary functions of these muscles -- rotation and lateral flexion of the trunk. The rectus abdominis muscle, which runs vertically down the abdomen, acts as a synergist and supports the oblique muscles in the movement required for a side crunch. Although side crunches can improve abdominal tone, you can't spot-reduce your midsection. Combining strength training and aerobic exercise with healthy weight loss is the only way to get the abs of your dreams.


Lie on your back in a prone position. Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and plant your feet flat on the floor. Extend your right arm and hand, palm down, on the floor. Put your left hand behind your head with the elbow out to the side.


Let your knees drop slowly to your right side. Your legs should be together with the knees and ankles stacked.


Engage your abdominal muscles. Exhale and curl your shoulders and upper torso off the ground to bring your left elbow toward your knees. Face the ceiling and do not strain your neck.


Inhale and lower your head and shoulders back to the ground. Switch sides and repeat the exercise to strengthen the obliques on the other side of your body.


  • Do side crunches on an exercise mat to protect your back.
  • Make side crunches more challenging by holding a weight behind your head.
  • Instead of doing multiple sets, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing strength training exercises to the point of muscle failure. In other words, do side crunches without taking a break until you are unable to complete another crunch with correct form. As your core strength improves, you'll be able to increase your repetitions.
  • Incorporate side crunches into a full-body strength training program that involves all the major muscle groups.
  • Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity before strength training.


  • Consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.