Crunches are one of the most popular ab workouts in the fitness world. Whether you are a regular gym rat or you occasionally workout at home, you have definitely heard about this workout. One variation of this popular exercise is wall crunches. Unlike the traditional version where you simply place your feet on the ground or lift and balance them in the air, wall assisted crunches use the wall in your house (or gym) for extra stability and support during the workout. Read on to learn more on how to do wall crunches, if they are as effective as the traditional version and all the different variations available.
What Is A Wall Crunch?
A wall crunch is a variation of the basic traditional crunches. With wall crunches, place your legs or feet on the wall for extra support and resistance during your workout session.
What Muscles Do Wall Crunches Work?
Also known as abdominal crunches or abdominal wall crunches, this exercise targets your core muscles. They specifically target the rectus abdominis (aka six-pack abs) as well as your obliques – located on either side of the body and help you twist right and left.
Are Wall Crunches Effective As An Ab Exercise?
Yes, they are. If you want an intense core muscle isolation workout, you should definitely add them to your routine. They are among the best workouts for that enviable six-packs definition.
As previously mentioned, wall crunches are simply a modified accessible version of traditional crunches. A study done on untrained male and female participants published The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, revealed that doing wall crunches for 1 to 3 days a week will help increase abdominal endurance (1).
How To Do Wall Crunches: Steps & Variations
If you’d like to attempt this workout, here are some variations to try
Vertical Wall Crunches
Also known as feet up the wall crunches, they only require a mat and your wall of choice. No other equipment
- Place a gym/yoga mat close to the wall and lie back on it.
- Lift your legs and place them on the wall. Adjust your position till your knees are perpendicular to the ground.
- Ensure that your knees are straight and your lower body – from your butt to your heels is touching the wall.
- Place your hands behind your head with your elbows extended out to the sides.
- On an exhale, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Do not pull on your neck while doing this.
- Hold this ‘up’ position for three seconds. You should feel your core contacting.
- Slowly drop down to the starting position with your entire torso lying on the mat.
- This counts as 1 rep. Do 8 to 10 reps for 1 set.
If you do not feel very comfortable having your entire lower body on the wall, slide backwards a little, till only the soles of your feet are touching the wall. Remember to not bend your knees.
Weighted Wall Crunches
Unlike the previous example, with these weighted crunches feet on wall variation, you are required to have some free weights. Some examples of appropriate weights include either a gym plate, a dumbbell, or a medicine ball.
This exercise can also be done in two ways:
- Lie back on the floor as described in ‘vertical wall crunches’ above.
- Instead of putting your hand behind your head, hold your weight on choice firmly in both hands.
- You can have the weight lie on your chest, or hold it up towards the ceiling.
- If holding the weight at your chest, lift your head and shoulders up and hold position for 3 seconds.
- Drop back down to the mat and repeat this motion for 8 to 10 reps per set.
- If you are holding the weights up, push the weight up towards your chest as you lift both the head and shoulders.
- Hold and then drop back down. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.
- Lie relatively close to the wall. Lift your legs and fold at the knees at a 90 degree angle.
- Place your feet firmly on the wall.
- Hold the weight as desired – i.e as explained in option 1 – and proceed to do your reps and sets.
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Standing Wall Crunches
- Stand with your feet about 6 to 8 inches in front of the wall. Place your hips, mid and upper back, as well as the back of your head to the wall.
- Your lower back as well as your neck should not be in contact with the wall.
- Once your posture is set, take one step in front but ensure that the hips, back of your head as well as the mid and upper back are touching the wall.
- Lift your arms as high as they can go.
- Fold and fall forward with your upper back first – not the neck. Bend at the waist and push your ribs back till your lower back now touches the wall.
- Hold here for a few seconds then go back up till your body is as described in step 3.
- This is 1 rep. Do as many reps as desired.
How Many Wall Crunches Should I Do A Day?
As a beginner, you should attempt to do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. This will come up to 24 to 30 wall crunches per day.
The Bottom Line
Wall crunches are a great option for beginners in fitness or seniors looking to get strong and strengthen their core muscles. They are also a great workout to add to your wall pilates workout. Try the above variations today!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Short-term effect of crunch exercise frequency on abdominal muscle endurance (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)