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Weighted Crunches 101 Video Tutorial

Home Modified Variation Core Exercise


Weighted Crunches
Weighted Crunches

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type


Required Equipment


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Weighted Crunches are a highly effective abdominal exercise that intensifies the standard crunch by adding resistance. With the primary target being the abs, this exercise also engages the hip abductors as secondary targets. Utilizing a dumbbell for added resistance, the weighted crunch involves lying flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding the dumbbell against your chest or behind your head. As you contract your abdominal muscles, you lift your shoulders and upper back off the ground while maintaining control, then slowly lower back down. This controlled movement effectively strengthens the core muscles, contributing to improved stability and overall abdominal strength.

How to Perform

  1. Begin by lying on your back in a comfortable position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

  2. Hold a dumbbell against your chest or behind your head, ensuring a secure grip on the weight.

  3. Lift your knees up to a 90-degree angle, so they are perpendicular to the floor, engaging your hip abductors.

  4. Exhale as you crunch upwards, bringing your shoulders and upper back off the floor while reaching towards your toes with the dumbbell.

  5. Contract your abdominal muscles fully at the top of the movement, focusing on the tension in your abs.

  6. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position with control, inhaling as you descend.

  7. Repeat the movement for the prescribed number of repetitions, maintaining proper form and control throughout to effectively target the abs and engage the hip abductors.

  8. Adjust the weight of the dumbbell as needed to ensure it challenges your muscles without compromising form or causing strain.

  9. Focus on breathing rhythmically throughout the exercise, exhaling during the upward phase and inhaling during the lowering phase to optimize oxygen flow and energy levels.

  10. Incorporate variations such as holding the contraction at the top for a few seconds or adding pulses to intensify the exercise and further engage the abdominal muscles.


  1. Focus on exhaling forcefully during the upward phase of the weighted crunch, akin to blowing out candles on a cake, and hold the contraction briefly to enhance the mind-muscle connection.

  2. If you experience discomfort in your lower back while performing this exercise, opt for movements that emphasize anti-extension and anti-rotation to alleviate strain.

  3. Refrain from placing your hands behind your head, as this may increase stress on the neck and lead to unnecessary strain. Instead, maintain a secure grip on the dumbbell to ensure proper alignment and effective engagement of the abdominal muscles.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid using excessive momentum to lift the weight; instead, focus on controlled movements to engage the abs effectively and prevent strain on other muscle groups.

  2. Do not arch your back excessively during the upward phase of the crunch; maintain a neutral spine to target the abs and minimize strain on the lower back.

  3. Avoid holding your breath; remember to breathe rhythmically throughout the exercise to maintain energy levels and optimize oxygen flow to the muscles.

  4. Do not grip the dumbbell too tightly; maintain a relaxed grip to prevent unnecessary tension in the hands and forearms and allow for better focus on the abdominal muscles.

  5. Avoid swinging the arms or jerking the weight; concentrate on using the abdominal muscles to lift the shoulders and upper back off the floor while keeping the movement smooth and controlled.

  6. Do not neglect to engage the hip abductors; ensure that the knees are bent and raised to a 90-degree angle to effectively engage these secondary muscles and stabilize the lower body.

  7. Avoid overarching the neck or straining the neck muscles; keep the head and neck in a neutral position to reduce the risk of injury and focus the energy on the abdominal muscles.

  8. Do not rush through the exercise; perform each repetition with deliberate and controlled movements to maximize muscle engagement and effectiveness.

  9. Avoid hyperextending the spine at the top of the movement; focus on lifting the shoulders and upper back off the floor while maintaining a slight contraction in the abs to prevent excessive strain on the spine.

  10. Do not neglect proper warm-up and stretching before performing the exercise; this helps prepare the muscles for the workout and reduce the risk of injury.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


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Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.