You can work your core muscles in a variety of unusual ways. Find out how to do super crunches and whether they are worth it.
Super crunches are a crunch exercise variation where you do a side crunch on each side and finish with a regular crunch.
Compared to regular crunches, super crunches focus more on your obliques and spend less time on working ab muscles.
It is fair to say that super crunches can help you grow and strengthen both of these core muscles in nice amounts if you use enough resistance and repetitions.
However, you will typically see more results from doing each of these three crunches separately. This reduces the amount of rest the muscles get in between each rep which is generally beneficial.
How to do a super crunch
A yoga mat or something similar can make this exercise more comfortable for your back.
That aside, take the following steps to do a super crunch:
- Lie down on your back and put your feet flat on the ground in front of your butt. Hold your arms against your chest.
- Slowly raise one shoulder as far as comfortable to the knee of the opposite side. Keep your neck in line with your upper body and lower back against the ground.
- Lower your shoulders back to starting position in a controlled motion.
- Follow step 2 but with the shoulder on the opposite side.
- Slowly lower your shoulders back to starting position.
- Raise your shoulders as far as comfortable in a controlled motion.
- Slowly get back into starting position.
You want to keep your lower back against the ground and neck in line with your upper body during super crunches.
Besides that, keeping your movements slow and controlled can help you work your core muscles harder.
Muscles worked with super crunches
The main muscles worked with super crunches are your obliques and abs.
Compared to regular crunches, the super variation spends more time working your oblique muscles and less time working your ab muscles.
To work these muscles enough for growth and strength progress, you will likely have to do the super version of one of the weighted crunches available.
One downside of super crunches is that the muscles you work get a lot of rest time in between repetitions.
Doing each of the three crunches in a single set before moving to the next crunch direction is generally more effective.
Super crunch benefits
While the muscles you focus on are somewhat different, the positive effects of the super variation will mostly be similar to the benefits of regular crunches. Some of these are:
- Stronger muscles: Super crunches in combination with a good exercise plan can help you grow and strengthen your obliques and abs.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: You can reduce or prevent back pain by doing core exercises like super crunches (1, 2). Keep in mind that some people with this issue will find super crunches too uncomfortable.
- No equipment or location required: Advanced lifters may need extra weights but bodyweight super crunches offer nice effects. This helps you avoid spending money on exercise equipment and time on going to the gym.
- Can make your six-pack more visible: By growing your ab muscles with super crunches you can make your six-pack stand out more. Most people will find this an aesthetic benefit.
Super crunches are not the only movement that offers this benefit but they do help to nice extents.
If you like doing them you can add super crunches to your core exercise routine.
Super crunch alternatives
If you don’t necessarily like super crunches you can also consider one or more of their alternatives. A few examples include:
- Cross crunches
- Regular crunches
- Ab wheel V-rolls
- Side crunches
- Hanging sideways knee raises
- Side bends
- Bicycle crunches
Whether you find super crunches uncomfortable and whether you want to work the same muscles play a big role in what alternatives you will like the most.
Are super crunches a good exercise?
Super crunches can be a good exercise to work your obliques and abs.
From a certain strength level on, you may need to use crunch equipment to actually grow and strengthen these core muscles in an optimal way.
That being said, it is also worth noting that doing each of the three crunches separately will likely offer you slightly more results.
In super crunches, the rest time in between repetitions is relatively big which tends to be suboptimal for muscle growth and strength progress.
Additionally, whether or not you like doing super crunches should influence what core exercises you ultimately choose to do.