Many people include crunches in their fitness routines, and they’re a well-known abs exercise. Crunches are an exercise that involves the contraction of the abdominal muscles. It is a primary component in strengthening your core.
A series of crunches can be done continuously allowing you to work up a sweat and burn calories as well. However, there seems to be some confusion about how many crunches should be performed daily.
Wondering how many crunches do you have to do a day to see results? Should be 20 or 100 crunches a day? How many calories they can burn? And what are the different types?
This is what we can figure out in this article.
Benefits of Doing Crunches
There are some benefits to doing crunches. Primarily, it targets your abdominal muscles which is what you want if you want rock-hard abs. This exercise can also help improve your posture by strengthening your core due to its capability of making your trunk more stable. Also, this exercise is also known to relieve back pain by strengthening your lower back muscles.
However, it is still not the best exercise you could do for your abs. This is because it only targets one group of muscles at a time which reduces its effectiveness compared to other exercises that are compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. These two mentioned exercises target multiple muscle groups at once.
Crunches Vs. Sit-Ups
Crunches are sometimes confused with sit-ups. While they are similar in that they both focus on your abdominal muscles, there is a major difference between the two.
A crunch exercise involves bringing your upper body towards your pelvis while lying on a flat surface while you slowly lower yourself back to the initial position. The motion should be controlled and slow. Sit-ups, on the other hand, are a whole-body contraction focusing more on your hip flexor rather than targeting your abdominal muscles.
Sit-ups are done by lying flat with your knees bent and feet crossed. Once you lift yourself, make sure that you tighten your buttocks as opposed to keeping them completely straight.
You should also keep your back off the ground during a sit-up exercise.
Sit-ups and crunches differ in their effectiveness and injury risk. Crunches engage both your abdominal and hip flexor muscles for a better ab workout. However, while sit-ups engage more of your hip flexor compared to crunches, they can also put more strain on your back and cause injuries such as a herniated disk.
Crunches, however, may be more difficult to perform at first but they can also provide better training results compared to doing sit-ups.
How many Crunches should I do a day?
There is no definite number of crunches you need to do a day to see results.
The amount varies based on your preference and how much time you actually dedicate to ab training. Do as many reps as possible within your limit every day until you want to quit or fail at completing another set.
For instance, if you can do 100 crunches in one shot, then every day just try to do more than that. You can increase it by 10 or 20 crunches than your previous count each time you want to practice the exercise.
You just have to be consistent in your ab training and give yourself some rest days during the week because you also need energy for other exercises aside from abs training.
However, just like with any exercise, it also has to be done within your limit. You must not do too many crunches in one session because this can cause muscle failure and injuries such as a herniated disk. This is especially true if you are a beginner when it comes to ab training.
If you want rock-hard abs and you also want to minimize the risk for injuries and muscle failure, make sure to train your abs safely.
P.S: Keep yourself motivated by setting goals that will push you every day such as increasing your reps or sets. Also, stay consistent, set a time when you want to do it every day, and stick to it. This will definitely help you in achieving your goal faster because you are motivated to do it and you are consistent in doing ab training every day.
Will 20 crunches a day make a difference?
20 crunches a day is very little. This does not really make a big difference on your abs training program because it may help you in seeing improvements but the results will only be visible if you also maintain a proper diet and do compound movements that allow for better muscle development such as squats, bench press, deadlifts, etc.
You should also keep in mind that abs training is a lifelong dedication. You can’t just do 20 crunches every day for 6 weeks and expect to see visible changes in your body after that short period of time. If you want to get results, you need to stick with it for at least 6 months until you achieve the kind of results you are looking for.
How Many Calories Are Burned If You Do Crunches?
Short answer: 100 crunches can help you burn 25 calories.
The number of calories burned doing 100 crunches will depend on your body weight, age, sex, current fitness level, the type of crunch you are doing, how many repetitions you are performing, your current fitness level, and your weight, etc. If you stay in the same place after doing 100 crunches, you burn about 25 calories.
Read More About: How To Burn 1000 Calories a Day? And How Long it Takes?
Do crunches really reduce belly fat?
It is true that crunches can burn fat in your abdominal region, but it may not be the best way to reduce belly fat. The best exercises for belly fat reduction are actually compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. Compound movements work out your entire body, including your abs muscles.
Crunches do not engage the muscles surrounding your abs, which means it is also not associated with better fat loss compared to other exercises that are compound movements.
Another drawback of doing crunches is that you cannot really measure your progress because there are always some improvements in muscle strength but it does not show unless you weigh yourself. You will see your abs but you won’t be able to see if it’s getting firmer or harder unless you weigh yourself, which is another disadvantage of crunches compared to other compound movements which allow for easier measurement of effectiveness.
Crunches alone will not burn belly fat. You need to balance your diet and include the right exercises that will help transform your body into a lean, ripped one.
So, Are crunches good for weight loss?
Crunches are only good for muscle development if you include proper dieting. If you want to lose weight, crunches alone will not do the trick. You need to have a balanced workout program that includes compound movements along with low-intensity cardio exercises that engages your entire body during training.
Types of Crunches:
You can vary your crunches so you will not get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Here are some choices you have for your ab workout:
- Regular crunch – this is done by lying on a mat with your knees bent, feet crossed, and hands placed behind your head. Slowly contract your abdominal muscles as you curl up, focusing on your abs.
- Reverse crunch – this is done by lying flat with your legs over a bench and feet crossed. Slowly raise your legs towards the ceiling as you curl up, ensuring that your back does not touch the floor.
- V-crunch – this is similar to the regular crunch but you need to keep your legs raised at a 45-degree angle to your torso.
- Side crunch – this is done by lying flat on your side with fingers placed behind the nape of your neck and pressing into it as you slowly lift yourself off the floor. This targets the oblique muscles that sit beside the abs area.
- Knee tuck crunch – this is done by gripping the back of your thighs with your hands as you curl up. This targets the lower abs.
- Superman – this is also called the overhead press because you have to lift yourself up using your arms while lying on your stomach with hands placed close to your head and legs straightened out behind you. Slowly lift one arm and then the other in turn while keeping both arms straight.
- Bicycle crunches – this is an advanced exercise so you need to be careful with your form if you are just starting out. You have to lie on your back with knees bent and feet out flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Hands should be placed behind the head as they are in regular crunches but legs are crossed too. Slowly lift your head off the floor as you curl up and then extend one leg out straight as you bring the opposite knee into your chest. Extend that leg back to where it was as you bring the other knee into your chest, doing a bicycle crunch.
- V-sit crunches – this works on those muscles beneath your obliques and requires you to lie flat on the mat with legs together and toes lifted off the ground. Slowly lift your upper body as you extend your hands up towards the ceiling, then slowly lower it as you bring your legs together again.
- Mountain climbers – this is done by starting in a push-up position but instead of moving your legs towards the ceiling, you have to bring them towards your hands one at a time while keeping your body in a push-up position. This is an advanced variation of the regular mountain climber exercise.
- Crunch twist – this is an advanced exercise as well so you need to be very careful with your form. You have to lie flat on the mat with your hands placed behind your head and fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Feet should be together, toes lifted off the ground. Slowly lift your upper body as you twist it slightly so that one elbow touches the opposite knee. Bring back down. Repeat the movement and repeat on the other side.
What is the best number of crunches to do every day?
It depends on where you are in your fitness journey. If you are just starting out, aim for 3 sets of 15-20 reps every other day while increasing the number of sets as you get stronger. Only perform 3 types of crunch at a time and avoid going beyond that.
What Are The Mistakes People Do in Their crunches Workout?
- The most common mistake is not doing a crunch correctly with a bent back, so the best thing you can do to avoid this from happening is to keep your feet firmly on the ground with your legs together and toes lifted off the ground at all times.
- Don’t force yourself into doing more than you can. It is normal to feel a burn and breathing heavily, but if you feel like vomiting or your neck hurts you need to stop immediately.
- Taking too many breaks in between sets of crunches.