By modifying more fundamental exercises you can work different muscles. Find out how to do x crunches and what their benefits are.
First of all, some people have different movements in mind when they say x crunches.
In this article, x crunches are a crunch exercise variation where you start lying down on the ground with your arms and legs spread out so that you make an X shape.
After that, you raise one arm and one leg and move them toward each other with the help of your core (and hip flexor) muscles.
X crunches can be a good way to work your oblique and ab muscles. In combination with enough resistance and reps, you can grow and strengthen these muscles.
One downside you do need to know is that it is easy to only move your legs and not your hips in x crunches. This would only work your hip flexors, not the lower parts of your obliques and abs.
How to do an x crunch
X crunches can get a nice amount more comfortable if you do them on a soft surface. That aside, take the following steps to do the exercise:
- Lie down on your back with your stretched arms and legs spread out so that your body makes an X shape.
- Slowly raise one shoulder off the ground. At the same time, move the hip from the opposite side toward this shoulder. You can also move your arm and leg connected to these body parts to the center.
- Return back to starting position in a controlled motion.
- Either complete your set on one side and repeat the same number of reps on the other side or alternate between the body parts on each side.
To keep x crunches a core exercise you want to mainly focus on the shoulder and hip raising parts of the exercise.
Many people also include the arm and leg movements in x crunches but if you overdo it with these, it makes your core workouts worse.
Muscles worked with x crunches
The main muscles worked in x crunches are your obliques, abs, and if you do the body part movements, hip flexors, chest, and shoulders.
Since most people do x crunches with the goal of working their obliques and abs, you really want to focus on raising your shoulders and hips with these muscles.
If you swing your arms and legs too much, the momentum of these will take over the resistance for your core muscles.
Besides that, you want to do x crunches with enough resistance, reps, and sets to grow and strengthen these muscles.
Some people may need to hold a weight against their shoulders and/or wear a pair of ankle weights to make these goals happen.
X crunch benefits
Doing x crunches in a good training routine can offer helpful benefits. A few examples include:
- Stronger muscles: X crunches can grow and strengthen your obliques and abs if you approach them right.
- No equipment or location required: In essence, x crunches are a bodyweight exercise. That means you don’t have to invest any money in exercise equipment or drive to your gym before you can work out.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Strengthening your core muscles with x crunches can reduce or prevent back pain (1, 2). People with issues in this area may want to talk to an expert before doing more x crunches.
- Can make your six-pack stand out: By making your abs bigger with x crunches, your six-pack could stand out more. Keep in mind that having too much body fat can make it so you don’t see this benefit.
There are other core exercises that can offer these benefits, sometimes more than x crunches.
At the same time, you could still consider adding this movement to your routine.
X crunch alternatives
You may wonder what some of these x crunch alternatives with similar benefits are. Some of these are:
- Reverse crunches
- Oblique crunches
- Bicycle crunches
- Double crunches
- Hanging side knee raises
- Ab wheel V-rolls
To choose between these x crunch alternatives you can think about what muscles you want to work in what ways and what exercise equipment you are willing to use.
Are x crunches a good exercise?
If you do them right, x crunches can be a good exercise for working your obliques and abs.
One downside of x crunches is that the arm and leg movements involved could take over the resistance for your obliques and abs. This would be suboptimal for training these muscles.
That being said, if you are careful about your exercise technique, x crunches can still help you grow and strengthen your obliques and abs.
If you really like doing this movement, you can add it to your core workout routine.
On the flip side, it is also worth mentioning that there are many other good core exercises too. These could align more with your training goals and personal preferences.
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What is an X crunch?
An X crunch is an exercise where you lie down, raise one shoulder to the hip of the other side, and raise this hip to the shoulder. You can involve your arms and legs in these movements too. The result is that X crunches are an exercise that works your obliques and abs.