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You Asked: How Many Crunches Are Enough?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

"I was wondering how many crunches one is supposed to do daily for an effective workout. I've heard quality over quantity is important, but I have no idea whether the quantity should be 20 or 60!"
- Confused camellia2

I actually get this question a lot so to see my answer


Unfortunately there is not a one size fits all answer. Trust me, I wish I could say, "Oh, just do 25," but I can't. So here is somewhere to start: beginners should do at least one set of as many repetitions as it takes to make the abs really burn and feel exhausted — then do three sets of however many reps leads you to feel the burn. For you this could mean five or 55 good, slow movements. It really depends on the level of the exerciser. I do know folks that will do 200 of the same ab exercise in one sitting, but I am not sure that's necessary (like you said, quality over quantity). Also, since our abs are almost always being worked when we exercise, I like to only have one day a week dedicated to my abs (along with cardio). You can do more or less, just make sure you give them time to rest and recover.

Now, that is not to say that you do one set of crunches and you're done once you feel the burn. If you really want to target your abs then you should repeat that process with your upper abs, lower abs, and obliques (and also do some back exercises if you really want to be complete). And as with any kind of strength training, push yourself by increasing your reps and once you get stronger.

Be sure to check out a few of my favorite ab exercises to get you well on your way.

Fit's Tip: Remember that you can build those abs nice and strong, but cardio is the only real way to get rid of the layer of fat covering them.


Join The Conversation
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
I try to do about 100 a week or so
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I have to work at not just doing crunches because I have very well-developed rectors, but my obliques and TVA muscles are not so hot. I have to do more bicycle crunches and oblique crunches to target those spots.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i try to do at least 100 and hope that i'm feeling the burn (i usually do around 50) so then i know that i'm doing something right. when i don't feel my abs hurt at all - i assume that i'm not doing it right and tag on more to the #
ley ley 9 years
you can do 1 million crunches or ab workouts you want but you get abs in the kitchen. Its about what you put in your body and excercise which lowers down overall body fat, for u to see abs or a six pack. I dont do any ab workouts since I dont think it helps that much I just focus on eating right and workout out, you can't choose where u want to lose fat
kimbly kimbly 9 years
I don't think I am doing crunches right. My lower back always aches before my abs start to burn. Any suggestions?
DreaAST DreaAST 9 years
good info!
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
Planks are great for the entire torso..including the back. I kept reading about them on here and didnt know what they i looked them up and now that i do them...WOW!! I also do this machine at the gym that twists the torso and really works your sides back and front....but you really have to keep good posture on the machine.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
i use the ab machine at the gym and generally try to do 50 on each side. left right front. Fit- how do we work the back? reverse curls?
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Thanks Fit!
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 9 years
I really like using an 8 lbs. medicine ball and 9 lbs. body bar for my abs workout.
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
The first thing i do when i go to the gym is lay down on the mats and do about 50 bicycle crunches and then about 10 really slow leg lifts which target the lower abs. Then i do a couple of planks...which are wonderful!!! For those, i just get into plank position and hold till it burns...then i release, stretch and do a few more. These really target the whole torso. Once im done with my ab workout i get into my cardio...its great because my core feels so tight, it really helps the rest of my workout! I say...just do them till it hurts/burns. :D
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
I used to do about 500 crunches a day 3 - 4 times a week!! Yea, its really time consuming but I started to see that 6 pack - I now try to do about 200 - 300 a week. its helps.
latent latent 9 years
it depends, I think, on whether the goal is a strong core or a pretty one. :)
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
This is why I prefer Pilates. In a 45 minute pilates session, you're engaging your abs practically the entire time, but it doesn't really feel it the way doing 100 crunches will. It's subtle but is definitely working those muscles!!
herfallingstar herfallingstar 9 years
I haven't done ab exercises for ages, so I'm starting off with 20 every morning, and going up from there. I've also started running for 15 minutes a day, too. Oh, and you should always do back stretches after.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
You should do a bunch of different ab exercises until fatigue, and I mean real fatigue. And you should make sure that each rep is slow and controlled. People try to bust out like a hundred or 50 or whatever really fast thinking they are doing themselves justice, but you'll get a much better workout if you do far less and keeping the movement slow and smooth. You'll definitely start to feel the burn! I workout with my PT 3 times a week and do his ab exercises, and then on the days in between when I go to the gym and do my own workout, I do my separate ab exercises so things are always changing up and stressing different parts. But it's the one muscle group that can be worked out daily, so go for it...slow, smooth and controlled, and do it until you literally cannot do one more...then move onto a different ab exercise and start again!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
ahh yes. Like I always say, I totally have a 6 pack, it's just still in the case. Gotta work off that fat!
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