There are very few people on the planet that like to work on their abs – even if would love to walk around with a 10 pack set of abs.
Some of the hesitation to work on our core has to do with the fact that these exercises are hard (really hard) most of the time. It’s not as easy to blast out rep after rep of double crunches (asking how many crunches you should do per day is always asked by gym-goers), that’s for sure, compared to throwing around a bit of iron under the barbell (as the barbell actually has some weight to it) or doing some bicep curls.
On the other hand, though, another reason people shy away from working on their core is that they aren’t sure of which exercises are actually going to hit the muscles they are targeting.
That’s a bigger problem than most people expect, but it’s one that you won’t have to worry about struggling with any longer by the time you’re done with the inside information below.
We are going to go over the power of double crunches together, focusing on the basics of how to perform this exercise, the big benefits that double crunches bring to the table, the muscle groups that are targeted with these kinds of crunches, and so much more.
Ready to jump right in?
Let’s do it!
What Is the Double Crunch Exercise
The double crunch basically combines two super popular ab exercises together with one another – your standard crunch and a reverse crunch – that dramatically increases the effectiveness of both of those exercises by combining them into one movement.
When you pull this off successfully you’re going to be engaging more of your core muscles than you would have alone, and that’s going to supercharge your sixpack almost instantly.
You’ll end up with a stronger core, and that’s going to have a huge impact in all areas of your life.
You’ll improve overall strength and athleticism, you’ll improve your posture, you’ll boost your flexibility – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll dig a little bit deeper into everything that double crunches bring to the table in just a moment.
Just know that this is a game-changing exercise that you’ll want to work into your core routine ASAP.
How to Do the Double Crunch Exercise
Doing the double crunch is relatively simple and straightforward.
Doing the double crunch with perfect form, on the other hand, is a bit more challenging – but the results are significantly better, which is why you want to make sure that you practice perfect form every repetition.
Start by lying down on the ground (on your back) while bringing your knees up towards your chest.
You want to keep your feet flat on the ground (putting them about hip-distance apart from one another), and then reach back with both of your hands and place your fingers alongside your ears.
The first move from here is to squeeze your abdominals while you lift your shoulders and your upper back up off of the ground. At the same time, you want to bring your feet and your knees towards your elbow (crunching in the middle) and holding that dynamic tension throughout the movement.
Don’t go too fast – but don’t drag it out, either.
At the top of the movement, you’ll want to give your abdominal muscles another squeeze to get them to really “pop” before you return back to the initial starting position.
Rinse and repeat for as many repetitions as you can handle! You don’t have to do 500 crunches for the day, just enough to tone your muscles.
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Benefits of Double Crunches
As we highlighted above, there are a couple of big benefits you’ll get out of knocking double crunches out of the park whenever you work on your core.
Below we breakdown some of the most important benefits you’ll begin to notice straight away!
Helps in Getting Six Pack Abs
Because of the all-encompassing attack, this movement has on your entire core, you’re going to be able to develop better six-pack abs a whole lot faster than you would have been able to with different types of core exercises alone. Other great workouts for your core include the one punch man workout, but pull ups do work ab muscles too, and the same goes for hanging leg raises and captain chair exercise.
This movement absolutely hammers multiple muscle groups (including your abdominals, your obliques, your hip flexors, and more) – which means you’re going to feel this workout straight away but you’re also going to see results much quicker, too.
This is going to burn. But the burn pays off big time.
Makes Lower Body Stronger
You might have heard that you need to do a certain number of squats to tone your thigh muscles, and that’s true. But….having a strong lower body and a flimsy core won’t make much of a diference.
A strong core is absolutely mission-critical if you are going to have any real strength whatsoever.
This workout is going to cause your lower body strength to shoot right through the roof, creating a stronger posterior chain and a stronger core that in turn allows you to generate a lot more pop and a lot more power.
On top of that, your flexibility is going to increase dramatically as well – and that’s no joke.
When you are strong AND flexible you are going to feel almost superhuman. It’s just a game-changing benefit that you can’t overlook, something that double crunches make possible a lot faster than traditional core workouts.
Erases Back Pain
It sounds counterintuitive to work out your lower back to eliminate back pain issues in that area, but that’s the way this works.
Yes, pushing through the first few training sessions with double crunches to target your lower back pain is going to spread some wildfire throughout the area.
But as long as you go slow, as long as you are deliberate, and as long as you listen to your body – backing off if the pain goes beyond normal “workout pain” and turns into injury pain – you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
A couple of weeks’ worth of these kinds of training sessions and you’ll be able to erase a decent chunk of your lower back pain forever, all while strengthening your lower back to avoid having to deal with this kind of pain in the future, too.
There aren’t a lot of movements out there that not only heal your issues but also “future proof” your body at the same. But that’s exactly what double crunches are going to do for you!
Other great exercises that help to erase back pain include roman chair sit-ups, seated tricep press, and sit-ups, but don’t shoot for 300 sit ups a day if you’re only starting out, you will get there with time.
The last big benefit we want to highlight here when talking about double crunches is the ability to improve your posture.
Now, this might not sound like much of a big deal (who’s really focused on their posture, anyway?).
But once you realize how bad your posture has become from sitting all the time (most of us live very sedentary lives) – and once you see how much of a difference this can make, energizing you, giving you confidence, and clearing away pain problems – improving your posture becomes a no-brainer.
It’s amazing that one little movement like this could be so impactful. Besides, if you are short and would love to get taller naturally, or create an illusion of being within the standard height for a tall guy, then fixing your posture should be a good start.
Like any other core exercise, double crunches are going to hammer a couple of different muscle groups.
What’s unique about these kinds of crunches, though, is that you are going to be really working out the entirety of your core unit at the same time – something that’s tough to pull off with any other type of crunch.
Here are three of the biggest muscle groups that are going to get worked (and worked hard) when you use this moment.
Your oblique muscles – both your external and your internal oblique muscles – are going to be lit on fire when you do double crunches.
Your external oblates are the muscles that run down from your ribs into your pelvis, following a pathway along the outer edges of your torso. Your internal obliques are situated just underneath your external obliques, and both of them work in concert with one another to stabilize your trunk and provide a lot of power. Other exercises that work this muscle area include, standing oblique crunches, cable crunches, and the Australian pull-up.
This muscle group runs straight through your sternum down into the bottom area of your pelvis, really helping your flex your spine. It also acts as one of the “pop” muscle groups in a six-pack once you start to dip under 10% body fat.
This muscle group gets really worked out when you go with double crunches but isn’t really hit that hard with standard crunches at all. It’s a nice way to activate a sometimes “forgotten” muscle in this area.
Your hip flexors are a huge piece of the puzzle in leading a happy and healthy lifestyle, especially if you like to workout and you like to be active.
Your hip flexors are situated in the front area of your hip, connect your lower body, your pelvis, and your truck together, and provide that flexing capabilities for this part of your body.
When your hip flexors are tight, your entire life feels tight. When your hip flexors are strong and healthy, though, you are strong and healthy! You can also count on some resistance band exercises to losen up your hips, and besides, you can also get to work your glutes and build a bubble butt.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Double Crunches
- If you are having a little bit of a tough time with this movement, don’t lift your shoulders so far up off of the ground. You could also not pull your needs quite as close to your chest during the reverse crunch part of this movement, too.
- If you want to make these crunches a little harder and really blast your abdominals, though, don’t ever let your feet touch the ground. Instead, keep your feet off of the floor throughout the entirety of the movement – constantly putting pressure on your abdominals – and really giving yourself a workout!
- Whatever you do, make sure that you aren’t “rounding” your lower back. That’s going to put a lot of undue pressure on that part of your core, causing a world of hurt – and potential injury – that could and should be avoided as much as possible.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make When They Are Doing Double Crunches
There are a number of really easily avoidable mistakes you’ll want to steer clear of when you are doing double crunches.
These mistakes are only going to hinder your progress, make the move unnecessarily hard (without the added training benefit that can come from tweaking the movement), and open you up to a lot of extra pain and potential injury.
Keep these things in mind and you won’t have anything to worry about going forward!
Yanking Your Head
Straight out of the gate, you need to make sure that you aren’t yanking your head up off of the ground with every movement.
Yanking your head (and allowing your chin to group into your chest) kills your form, robs you of the benefits of this movement, and really just wastes a lot of time and a lot of energy.
On top of that, you run the risk of causing undue neck pain from this incorrect movement, too.
Popping Your Hips
The next thing you want to avoid (as much as possible) is “popping your hips” off of the floor.
This is especially common when you are brand-new to double crunches or crunches in general, it’s not hard to see why people end up doing this every now and again. It just sort of feels natural (even if it’s not ideal).
Popping your hips essentially involves pulling your hips up off of the floor as you start to crunch in the middle.
This releases a lot of the tension on your abdominal muscles, relaxes them significantly, and really hinders the kind of progress that you are looking for in the first place.
Not Breathing Right
Finally, it’s important that you get your breathing squared away when you are working on double crunches.
Keep your breathing consistent – in and out, timed to your movements – and make sure that you aren’t holding your breath at any point in time. Nothing good comes from holding your breath during intense movements like this.
Hold your breath too long during these moves and you’ll be starving your body of some much-needed oxygen and fuel. It’s a fast track to fewer reps than you could have knocked out before (and slower progress because of it).
Breathe intentionally, breathe slowly, and try to focus on maintaining tension throughout your body while you do double crunches and your results are going to be almost immediately apparent.
Laser focus on these details and you’ll become a double crunch master faster than you ever would have thought possible!
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
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