Spiderman Crunches: How To, Benefits,…

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There are many exercise options for your core workouts. Discover how to do spiderman crunches and whether they are any good.

Spiderman crunches sound like a crunch variation but they are more of a high plank variation where you move one knee toward the shoulder of the same side.

This means you add a small amount of hip flexor and oblique engagement to the standard ab engagement of the plank exercise.

An important thing to note is that spiderman crunches mainly work your abs in an isometric (static) way. This is generally less effective for training results than dynamic ab exercises.

One of the benefits of isometric exercises is that they can be more comfortable on your spine. However, by adding the leg movements, spiderman crunches will likely not have this effect.

In simpler words, unless you really like doing spiderman crunches (and even then), you likely want to turn to more effective core exercises.

How to do a spiderman crunch

Take the following steps to do a spiderman crunch:

  1. Sit on your hands and knees. Keep your arms slightly less than stretched and your shoulders above your wrists throughout the exercise.
  2. Step back with your feet until you are in a straight line from your heels to the top of your head.
  3. Slowly move one knee as far as comfortable to the elbow of the same side. Move your knee sideways, not just straight forward.
  4. Move your leg back to the position of step two in a controlled motion.
  5. Repeat step 3 but with your other knee.
  6. Keep alternating between what knee you move for a certain number of repetitions or amount of time.
How to do a spiderman crunch

Some people will find lowering their hips too much in superman crunches uncomfortable on their lower backs. This is likely something you want to avoid.

Besides that, you want to really tilt your hips in each “repetition” if you want to work your oblique muscles.

If your wrists hurt when doing spiderman crunches you can also do the same exercise from the low plank position on your forearms instead of your hands.

This will also target hip abductor muscles in your outer thighs slightly more.

Spiderman crunch muscles worked

The main muscles worked in spiderman crunches are your abs and hip flexors.

Besides that, your obliques and outer thigh muscles will have to work to nice extents too although likely not to the point of muscle growth and strength progress.

Additionally, your quadriceps and glutes have to work to some extent to keep your legs stretched.

Compared to regular planks, spiderman crunches mostly train your obliques and hip flexors slightly more.

That being said, spiderman crunches still mainly work your abs and they work these in an isometric (static) way.

This is relevant since isometric exercises tend to be less effective than more dynamic ab exercises for growing and strengthening muscles.

You can still get these results from spiderman crunches if you implement enough repetitions and weight.

In that case, you likely need something like a compact weighted vest and/or ankle weights.

However, you likely just want to turn to other core exercises instead. At least from an optimal results standpoint.

Spiderman crunch benefits

Spiderman crunches are not the most effective exercise out there but you can still say they offer benefits. Some examples of these are:

  1. Improves muscle endurance: The ab and potentially oblique engagement you get in spiderman crunches could be enough to improve muscle endurance. With enough resistance, you could even see ab muscle growth.
  2. Adds some variety: You may find the unusual spiderman crunch exercise a fun way to switch up your core muscle endurance workouts.
  3. Balance & coordination: Spiderman crunches offer a challenge in terms of balance and coordination. This could be enough to benefit your skills in these areas.
  4. May reduce or prevent back pain: Improving core muscle endurance with spiderman crunches can help you reduce and prevent back pain (1, 2). People with issues in these areas do want to be careful with spiderman crunches and potentially talk to an expert first.

There are often more effective ways than spiderman to get these benefits but you can still say this exercise tends to be better than doing nothing.

Spiderman crunch alternatives

By now, you may wonder what some of these more effective alternatives to spiderman crunches are. Some examples are:

  • Ab wheel V-rolls
  • Oblique crunches
  • Side bends
  • Hanging sideways knee raises
  • Other plank variations
  • X crunches
  • Bicycle crunches

Your training goals will play a big role in what spiderman crunch alternatives are the best choices in your situation.

Are spiderman crunches a good exercise?

Spiderman crunches still offer some benefits in terms of core muscle endurance but it is hard to really call them a good exercise.

The main reason for that is that they work your abs in an isometric way. This is generally less effective for growing and strengthening these muscles than more dynamic ab exercises.

Isometric ab exercises can sometimes be a good idea for people who find bending their spine uncomfortable.

However, spiderman crunches do not include this benefit due to the extra leg and hip movements.

On top of that, it is relatively challenging to do this exercise with enough resistance to see good training results.

Even if you really like doing spiderman crunches, you likely want to consider more effective core exercise alternatives.

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What is a spiderman crunch?

A spiderman crunch is an exercise where you stand in a high plank position, move one knee to the elbow of the same side and back, and repeat this leg movement on the other side. This works your abs, hip flexors, and obliques to some extent.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.