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If you’re looking to work on your core strength, crunches are an easy way to build muscle and improve core stability. To work out more effectively, make use of these variations on the basic crunch, brought to you by Athletic Republic in Toledo.

Bicycle crunch

In the same position as you would perform a standard crunch, lift your legs off the floor, keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees. WIth your hands lightly supporting the back of your head, lift and turn your upper body so your right elbow meets your left knee while extending your right leg out straight. Cycle your legs round and turn your upper body so your left elbow meets your right knee. Repeat this movement for 20 reps, rest, and repeat. This crunch will work your abdominal muscles, but also get your hip flexors working.

Reverse crunch

Instead of lifting your upper body and keeping your feet on the floor, lift your legs into the air and, using a pulling motion, lift your hips up into the air. Repeat for 20 reps, rest, and repeat. Reverse crunches are great for your external obliques, the muscles besides your abs that are crucial for good core stability (and a flat stomach, if that’s what you’re after).

V sit ups

V sit ups work a whole range of muscles but focus mainly on your abs and obliques. To perform them, lie flat on your back, then lift your upper body with your arms outstretched while lifting your legs (trying to keep them as straight as possible), to form a ‘V’ shape. Lower your arms and legs to the floor, then repeat for 20 reps, rest, and repeat the set. To make these much more difficult, try to avoid letting your limbs touch the floor in between repetitions (lower them until they’re hovering an inch from the floor).


OK, so this one may not technically be a crunch variation, but planks are too good for your core to skip over them. Get into a push up position, but instead of supporting yourself with your hands, support yourself with your elbows (keeping them in line with your shoulder joints). Keep your body in a straight line, don’t allow your hips to lift up or to droop, and hold the position for as long as you can. It’ll feel easy in the beginning, but after a minute or so your abs will be on fire.

Make sure you’re getting the right pre- and post-workout nutrition to get the most out of your training by following the tips laid out in our guide.

We here at Athletic Republic pride ourselves on pushing athletes to the next level, making use of scientifically-developed programs to deliver the best sports training in Toledo. Call (419) 882-0661 to get started.