Crunches challenge – 3 best exercises for stronger abs

There are 4 layers of abdominal muscles, but it’s the top layer that gives the trained, 6 pack look. These are the muscles that are worked by crunches. Basically an abdominal crunch involves bringing your upper body and lower body closer together in some way. In this crunches challenge, there are 3 variations of ab crunch – the standard crunch, reverse crunch and bicycle crunch. The challenge gets a bit harder each day by adding more reps of the exercises, as shown in the chart below.

Instructions for the exercises

Before you do the workout, please see these exercise guidelines.

You’ll need to be on a surface that is comfortable for your spine. If you don’t have an exercise mat, lie on something soft, a folded blanket or quilt for example.

The instructions for the 3 exercises are below, followed by a chart with the reps for each day of the challenge. You can also get a printable download by entering your e-mail at the bottom.

Basic crunch

Crunches challenge basic crunch

  • Lie with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip distance apart.
  • Put your hands behind your head to prevent neck strain. You should just be supporting your head, not pulling on it.
  • Keep your elbows relaxed out to the side.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and curl your spine smoothly away from the floor.
  • Stop when your shoulder blades have left the floor and start to reverse the movement. Again, it should be a smooth, curling movement on the way down.

Reverse crunch

Crunches challenge reverse crunch

  • This time, start by extending your legs so that they are vertical.
  • Engage your lower abs as you curl your lower spine off the mat in a smooth curling movement.
  • When your lower back has left the floor, start to reverse the movement – curl your spine back down under control.

Bicycle crunch

Start position

  • The start position this time is with your feet in the air and your hands behind your head, as with the basic crunch.

Bicycle crunch

  • Bring your right knee towards your upper body and, at the same time, lift your left shoulder off the floor and reach your left elbow towards your right knee.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Crunches challenge schedule

Crunches challenge

Get a free copy of the schedule

Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get a free printable download of this workout e-mailed to you:

After you sign up, you’ll get 3 e-mails:
The first will ask you for a one-click confirmation of your subscription
Once you’ve confirmed, you’ll get a second e-mail with a link to your download and a separate welcome e-mail

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