Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing

Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing

What in the world are crunch kicks?

I’ll forgive you if you’re not familiar with crunch kicks… this time.

Honestly, I didn’t even know what they were until I got tired of my boring old ab routine and started looking for something new and fresh.

Out of all the seemingly limitless crunch variations, crunch kicks are fast becoming one of my favorites.

Why? They’re actually kind of fun. No, not like taking your best gal out for a night on the town fun. More like, “workout fun.” Hey, workouts can be fun.

Just ask Arnold how he feels about those intense workout pumps and then tell me workouts can’t be fun…

For some interesting, and sometimes funny trivia on abs, see our article, Answers To The Internet’s Top 23 Six Pack Questions!

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Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing
Arnold Schwarzenegger
By Jack

Focus area: muscles worked

This simple bodyweight exercise targets those lower abdominal muscles that are often neglected by traditional crunches and sit-ups.

Several ab muscles are engaged, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, as well as your internal and external obliques.

-The rectus abdominis is the “six-pack muscle” that runs down the center of your stomach.

-The transverse abdominis is a deep abdominal muscle that helps to stabilize your spine.

-The external obliques are the muscles on the sides of your stomach that help your body twist and bend.

-The internal obliques are underneath the external obliques and also help with twisting and bending.

Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing

How to do crunch kicks properly and develop those abs!

To do a crunch kick, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.

-Place your hands behind your head or down along your side similar to normal crunches.

-Use your abs to curl your shoulders off the ground and lift your legs into the air so that your knees are directly above your hips.

You should feel the contraction more in your lower abs. Really focus on this.

-From this position, kick both legs out straight in front of you.

You can vary the angle of your legs to increase or decrease the difficulty as well.

Experiment with the angles to see what you prefer.

Return to the initial position and repeat.

Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing

Proper form and breathing pattern

Anyone can do a crunch kick, but to get the benefits from this ab exercise, it’s important to do it right.

First of all, when performing crunch kicks it’s important to maintain proper form.

This means keeping your back straight and your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Don’t use any swinging momentum and keep those shoulders lifted. Look straight ahead and focus on feeling those core muscles, especially in the lower body engaging.

Secondly, you need to pay attention to your breathing pattern.

Exhale as you kick your legs out and inhale as you bring them back to the starting position.

Think of it like this. As with most exercises, you’ll want to breathe in as you get the weight set up and then breathe out as you perform the working part of the motion.

Whether you’re working your upper body or lower body, you’re going to want to follow this advice most of the time.

Not only will this help you avoid getting lightheaded, but it will also ensure that you’re getting the most out of the exercise.

Finally, be sure to keep your movements slow and controlled.

This isn’t an exercise that should be rushed – taking your time will help you get the most benefit from it.

Increase your core stability by avoiding swinging your legs while performing these crunches.

For crunches to work, follow these simple tips to reap all the benefits they have to offer.

Sets and reps

Depending on your fitness level you can start with 2 sets of 10 reps and work up from there.

Initially, just start with as many as you can do while maintaining proper form and body control.

Proper form plays a crucial role in any exercise.

Remember, crunch kicks work, and they’re a great way to sculpt strong, defined lower abs. But, they work much more effectively when you maintain proper form.

Crunch kicks

Crunch kick variations

Side crunch kicks

You can also try a variation of the crunch kick by twisting your hips to the side and kicking out from that position.

This engages different areas of your core and focuses the contraction more on your obliques.

Your thigh muscles are also engaged more with this variation.

One leg at a time

You could also vary this exercise by kicking out one leg at a time.

When doing this variation, make sure you move in a slow, deliberate pattern. Maintain control the entire time. As the right leg comes back, at the same time slowly push the left leg out.

Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing

Benefits of crunch kicks

This is a simple, but effective exercise that can add some needed variation to your ab exercises.

Use crunch kicks or whatever your favorite core exercise is in between sets to keep your heart pumping and heart rate elevated.

Crunch kicks improve core strength

Crunches and crunch kicks can help improve your balance and coordination by strengthening your core.

They also target the often neglected lower abs, similar to flutter kicks, lying knee raises, hanging leg lifts, and to a lesser extent, mountain climbers and sit ups.

Crunch kicks are easy to do

Crunch kicks are a great exercise because it doesn’t require any equipment, other than a flat surface and workout mat.

It can be used as a warm up exercise done practically anytime: at home, at work, or even on vacation!

Add a few sets in between your normal working sets to save time. I superset almost everything anyway, so adding crunches or other core movements during my rest times helps speed things up in the gym even more.

Burn calories with crunch kicks

Incorporating any ab workout into your exercise routine will keep you working out longer, your heart rate up, and ultimately, burning more calories.

There are two ways to do this:

-Do your core exercises at the end of your main workout. This tacks on an extra 10 minutes or so to your gym time.

Bam! The more calories burned the leaner you get.

-Do your core exercises in between sets. This doesn’t add any gym time, but it keeps your heart rate up even while resting which helps you burn extra calories.

Either of these methods will help you achieve your goals.

Common mistakes performing lower ab movements

We’ve touched on most of these already so I won’t spend too much time on it. Here are some things to watch out for:

Don’t use your momentum by swinging your legs. Maintain slow and deliberate control throughout the entirety of any exercise. This holds true for any exercise working any muscle group. Upper body, lower body, sit ups, push ups, anything!

Focus on contracting your lower abs, not upper abs. Feel the contraction point lower down just above the pubic bone.

If you feel a sharp pain at any time, anywhere, stop! This is true for any exercise.

Diet, diet, diet!

I know, you’re sick of hearing it. Me too. But, it bears repeating.

If I were talking about real estate, I’d say location, location, location.

Since we’re talking about abs, it’s diet, diet, diet.

As you know nutrition plays the biggest role in reducing body fat and getting that 6 pack. A lower fat percentage allows all that hard work in the gym to really show.

So stick to a healthy diet as much as possible, and avoid processed foods and sugar.

Drink lots of water and include plenty of high-fiber foods in your daily diet.

Nobody wants extra calories that they’ll have to burn off!

It should be noted that Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

Crunch Kicks: The Best Lower Ab Workout No One is Doing
healthy foods

What body fat percentage do I need to see my abs?

Sure, you’ll build core strength, but no one sees that. If you’re looking to show off your six pack, you need to be lean.

These are rough guidelines, and everyone’s different but:

For men, you’ll want to get to around 10-14%

For women, it’s around 15%.

These are the body fat levels where you should just start seeing your abs pop. You’ll see your upper two abs first.

You’ll still need to decrease those body fat levels for your entire six pack to pop.

Upgrade your abs! Other tips and tricks

For another great ab exercise, read – The Stomach Vacuum Exercise: Is it Safe, and How To Do it Right.

For a complete guide to getting that ripped six pack, check out this article: Upgrade Your Abs! Best Diet and Exercises for Building the V-Line.

Bottom line on crunch kicks

If you’re looking for a new lower ab workout to try, crunch kicks are definitely worth checking out. They work the entire abdominal area, focusing on the lower abs, and can be done within just minutes a day.

Adding this exercise to your established ab routine will help you achieve the strength and body you desire.

So what are you waiting for? Give them a go today!

Do you have any favorite lower ab exercises that we didn’t mention here?

Let me know in the comments below – I always love trying out new workouts.

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