Raised Leg Crunches

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Raised Leg Crunches

Raised leg crunches (also known as bent knee crunches or tuck crunches) are more superior and lower back friendly variation of the regular crunches. Use this exercise to develope a proper strength in your upper abdominals while minimizing the risk of causing a lower back pain.

Raised leg position helps to deactivate hip flexors and keep your lower back flat against the floor. This way your abs are forced to do all the work. It adds intensity to the abdominal muscles and fatigues them before you start feeling anything in your back. There are no flexion or extension happening in your lumbar spine if the exercise is done correctly.

Raised leg crunches are suitable for everyone regardless of the level of fitness. I recommend to replace common crunches with these ones. Especially if lower back pain is a frequent occurrence for you when training abs.


  • Helps to properly strengthen abs while minimizing the risk of hurting the spine.
  • Higher activation of the Rectus Abdominis than on the regular crunches.
  • No equipment needed.


Raised Leg Crunches - Step 1

Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent in 90 degrees. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor. Fold your arms and place them on the chest. Contract your abdominals so your lower spine flattens onto the floor.

Raised Leg Crunches - Step 2

To begin the exercise slowly raise your upper back and shoulders off the floor while keeping your arms close to your chest. Crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis and try to reach your thighs with your elbows. Once you have crunched as far as you can, hold the position for a second or two. Then slowly return to the starting position. That’s one repetition.

Perform the exercise for the desired amount of repetitions or until your abs fatigue or your form starts to suffer.

Fully exhale while you crunch. Inhale on the way back.


  • Roll your hips towards your chest to engage your lower abs as well.
  • Your back should be completely flat against the floor during the exercise.
  • Put your arms behind your head or hold a weight plate on the chest to increase the difficulty.
  • To really burn your abs do not put your upper back and shoulders to the floor once you begin the exercise.
  • If you experience an unpleasant discomfort in the lower back region during the exercise, check your form. If the form isn’t the issue, terminate the exercise and consult your physician.


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.