How to do Side Crunches

Side crunches are a great way to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles while putting extra focus on your side oblique muscles. However, it's important to understand that making your midsection stronger won't just make those pesky love handles disappear. 

Unfortunately, almost everyone is led to believe that we can melt away belly fat by just doing a ton of crunches. That is simply not true.

To burn that extra layer of fat away and be able show off your abs's, you will need to combine core exercises like these crunches with other exercises and you will also need to follow a low calorie diet.

Side Crunches

Exercise Instructions:

  • Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees together and bent at a 90-degree angle.

  • Lower your knees to the right side so that they are touching the floor. Lift your shoulders off the ground and do a number of regular crunches. Then move your legs to the left side and repeat the exercise.

side crunch exercise

Crunches with an Exercise Ball

  • Start by lying across the exercise ball (as pictured) with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your arms either behind your head or cross them over your chest.
  • Raise the side of your body off the ball a couple of inches with your ab muscles engaged. 
  • Hold this pose for 5 seconds and return to your upright sitting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

exercise ball side crunches position #1Kyle Demonstrating the Exercise Ball Side Crunch
exercise ball side crunches position #2

Studies have shown that ab exercises done on a fitness ball are the most effective.

Standing Side Crunches

Standing ab exercises are great for working all of your core muscles, and the result will be equally efficient without the discomfort that some people have when they try to do sit-ups or crunches.

These crunches are a great way to exercise your abs while standing. You can also increase the tempo of this exercise to make it more of a cardio exercise.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start in a standing position with legs shoulder width apart, your toes slightly turned out for better balance, and your hands on your hips.

  • Lower down by bending your knees, making sure to lower straight down with your hips staying directly under your shoulders.

  • Once your upper legs are parallel to the floor, straighten back up slowly lifting the right knee up towards the right shoulder.

  • As you lower back down, make sure to move at a controlled pace, keeping your abs tight the entire time.

Benefits of Side Crunches

  • Core Muscle Strength: Strong core muscles provide stability to help with the workload of our lower backs. They are deep muscles that can be difficult to reach, which is why exercises like crunches are important.

  • Convenience: It can be easy to rationalize not working out for so many different reasons, but body strength exercises like crunches can be done almost anywhere and at any time. It doesn't matter if you do them in the morning when you get out of bed or sneak in a couple of sets in at work.

  • Spine-Health and Muscle Balance: Many exercises like these will strengthen the muscles in your back as well as your abs; this will provide support for the spine. Keeping your muscles balanced in the front and back of your body will help with your balance and posture. 

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

» » Side Crunches

Join the Health and Fitness 
Conversation on Our Fitness House Facebook 


Ask Kim Mulligan Your Fitness Questions

Daily Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit

Printable Workouts and Diet/Food Lists and Charts

Recent Articles

  1. A Printable Workout Log Can Help Track Your Fitness Progress

    Feb 19, 20 12:25 PM

    See how a printable workout log can be one of your most valuable resources to successfully reach and maintain your fitness goals.

    Read More

  2. Tricep Extension Exercises for Beach Ready Arms

    Feb 09, 20 11:11 AM

    The tricep extension is one of the best exercises available to help you develop great looking arms.

    Read More

  3. Standing Dumbbell Fly for a Great Set of Shoulders

    Feb 04, 20 12:52 PM

    See how the dumbbell fly can make you stronger, more flexible, and improve your posture. Follow our illustrated instructions to achieve maximum results.

    Read More