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Reverse Crunches & Working Your Lower Abs

If you want to sculpt your lower abs, it's time to mix up your classic crunch. Reverse crunches hone in on the bottom portion of your rectus abdominus to take your four pack to a six pack, says personal trainer Mike Donavanik, CSCS. Plus, they train your tranverse abdominis, your natural internal girdle, more than traditional crunches do. But to reap these rewards, you need to know how to do reverse crunches properly. That means not letting your hands, arms, or, even worse, momentum, do the work. Learn how to do reverse crunches the right way with these easy-to-follow instructions.

To strengthen the entire ab area, lie on your back and extend your arms out to the side, or keep your hands behind your head if that’s more comfortable (top illustration). Raise your knees and feet so they create a 90-degree angle. Contract your abdominals and exhale as you lift your hips off the floor with control; your knees will move toward your head (bottom illustration). Try to keep your knees at a right angle. Inhale and slowly lower. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Special Instructions

Don't use your momentum to swing your legs up. Try to keep the motion controlled by your abs.

Do the exercise often for best results. In order to start seeing/feeling results, aim to do 3 to 5 sets 2 to 3 days a week for 7 weeks. For faster results, increase the number of sets and times per week you do this exercise.