Crossover crunches, also called cross-body crunches, are beginner-level abs exercises that work on your front abdominal muscles and help build a strong core.
This exercise also works on your side abs and helps you feel more pulled in at your waist. Crossover crunches have a slightly lower impact on your body compared to exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups, but they are effective in managing back pain. Performing this exercise requires the same range of motion as a bicycle or basic crunch, allowing you to crunch and twist your abs and reach your right elbow to your opposite knee.
You may add crossover crunches to your strength training workout for a stronger and tighter midsection. When performed correctly, this core-strengthening exercise can be very effective.
How to do crossover crunches? Correct form and technique
To perform this exercise, you may use a yoga mat, or simply do it on the floor.
- Lie down on your back on a flat surface, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Put both your hands behind your head and your elbows flared out.
- Cross your left ankle over your right knee.
- Contract your abdomen, exhale slowly, and raise your upper body off the floor, just like you do in a basic crunch.
- Slowly twist your torso to your left, squeeze your abs, and bring your right elbow to your left knee till they come close to each other.
- Reverse your twist, and breathe easily as you lower your upper body back to the floor.
- Repeat the same on the other side, and do your desired repetitions.
Here’s a video of the basic crossover crunch:
Few benefits of crossover crunches:
When performed correctly and in the correct form, crossover crunches are a productive ab exercise with amazing benefits:
1) Crossover crunches help tone and strengthen your core muscles
Whether you want to get six-pack abs or build your core strength, incorporating crossover crunches into your fitness routine can have a positive impact. This exercise can help develop the strength and endurance needed to perform other ab workouts such as sit-ups and planks.
2) They are a low-intensity full-body workout
Other than being an effective core strengthening exercise, crossover crunches can also be termed a full-body workout, as they target your hip flexors, lower back and glutes.
3) They can be easily done at home
Another great advantage of crossover crunches is that they are a very easy exercise and can be done in the comfort of your home. Aside from a yoga mat or carpet, this exercise requires no other special equipment.
There are different variations of crossover crunches that you can perform, depending on your fitness level and strength.
1) Modify your hand position
The basic crossover crunches require you to keep your hand behind your head, but if you want to change this position, you may put your fingers on the side of your head and behind your ears. You can also put the fingertips of one hand on the side of your head, and flare out the other arm to your side, so that they are perpendicular to your body.
2) Modify your leg position
To modify your leg position, do not cross your ankle over your knee. This position is beneficial if you have a lower back or knee issue. Just put both your feet on the mat, and when you twist to the side, bring your opposite knee to your elbow, and leave your other leg on the floor.
3) BOSU Ball crossover crunch
This variation requires you to use a BOSU ball under your torso that forces your core to maintain a proper balance throughout the exercise, thereby strengthening and tightening your stabiliser muscles. To perform this variation:
- Lie down with a BOSU ball under your torso, just along the curve of the middle of your spine.
- Do the usual crunches while maintaining a proper balance.
- Complete the same number of repetitions on both sides.
To take maximum advantage of crossover crunches and prevent any type of pain in your lower back, avoid these mistakes while performing this exercise.
- When doing crossover crunches, do not pull your neck up. Maintain space between your chest and chin, and lift your upper body off the floor in a controlled manner.
- Maintain a good hip position, and do not lift your pelvis off the ground.
- When lowering your upper body, do not just fall back on the mat. Instead, engage your core as you lift your body, and keep it engaged as you lower down.
- Align your breath with each movement, and do not stop breathing.
- When doing crossover crunches, do not move fast, and perform the exercise speedily. That can increase your risk of pain, while also decreasing the productivity of the exercise.
- Start with a few reps, and as you gain strength, increase the reps gradually. Doing fewer crossover crunches with correct form is more effective than doing many reps with unstable form.
Crossover crunches are beginner-level exercises that you can perform easily as long as your form is correct. However, if you’ve had any surgery or injury in the past involving your back, arms, hips or neck, you may want to avoid this exercise.