How to do Side Crunches

Side crunches are a great way to strengthen and tone your front and side abdominal muscles with one exercise, but it's important to understand that making your midsection stronger won't just make the 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 the fat away you need to combine core exercises like crunches with a fairly intense cardio plan. 

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 Crunches

You can do the same intense core exercises standing up, 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 ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum

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