Incline Crunches

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Incline Crunches on a Bench

This undeservedly unpopular abdominal exercise known as Incline crunches helps to reduce the likelihood of unpleasant lower back pain when training abs. It is much more safer on your lower back than the regular crunches on the floor. This exercise can save your low back from the serious injuries.

The following two things I like about this exercise the most.

First, incline crunches help to keep the lower back in a safe position. It provides the opportunity to reach the burn in your abs before your back gets sore. This usually is the major problem for those who have issues with the low back.

Second, it doesn’t allow your hip flexors to do the job your abs are supposed to do. As a result you get the perfect enviroment to strengthen and develope your abdominal muscles.

Recommended For You If:

  • Regular crunches or other ab exercises cause lower back pain.
  • Your lower back gets sore before your abs do.
  • You have tight hip flexors.
  • You have underdeveloped abdominal muscles.
Main Target: Upper abdominals.
Equipment needed: Bench or other incline construction.

How To Do Incline Crunches Correctly

To collect all the benefits of this ab exercise follow the steps below to perform this abdominal exercise with a correct form. If you do this exercise properly you will experience improvements after just a few sessions.

Step 1: Get In a Starting Position

Set the bench in an incline position and raise a seat to avoid sliding off.

Sit down on the bench and lay back. Bend your legs and rest them against the wall or anything else enough high.

Fold your hands and place them on the chest.

Step 2: Start the Exercise

Slowly raise your chest, shoulders and head as a one unit off the bench without bending your lower back.

Imagine that you are trying to reach your hips with your elbows while sliding them right above the stomach. Once you reach the maximum contraction of the abdominals slowly return to the starting position.

Exhale all air out of your lungs on your way up. Inhale on the way back.

Perform the exercise for the prescribed amount of repetitions and sets or until your abs fatigue.

Modify the Difficulty:

You can play with an angle of the bench to adjust the appropriate level of the difficulty.

To make the incline crunches easier raise the back support of the bench steeper. It will allow you to sit more vertically thus reducing the resistance of your body weight. To make the exercise a level harder do the opposite.

To make the exercise more challenging put your hands behind your neck. The weight of your arms will work as a lever making the exercise a bit harder. Use weights such as a dumbbell or disc to make the exercise hardcore.


  • Keep your lower back flat against the bench at all times.
  • If your neck gets tired, place one ore both hands behind your neck.
  • Look in a one spot in the ceiling throughout the whole exercise to avoid bending your neck.
  • Perform the exercise at a slow pace. 3 seconds up, 3 seconds down.
  • Draw in the navel and breathe deeply through the belly.
  • Stop the exercise if you start feeling it in your lower back.

Common Mistakes:

  • Arching lower back.
  • Sliding off the seat and losing the support of your lower back.
  • Lifting elbows up.
  • Performing a movement with a momentum.
  • Doing the exercise more like a sit-up with a high range of motion.
  • Bending the neck down to the chest.
  • Pushing past the lower back pain.

Incline Crunches Video Demonstration:

About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.