Side Crunch: Your How To Guide For Stronger Obliques And Abs

Do you ever find yourself struggling to tone your waistline and get rid of stubborn love handles? We get it, and you’re not alone in this problem! With the fast-paced nature of our lives, it’s all too easy to slip into unhealthy habits that cause our midsection to suffer. While we often train our abs with traditional sit-ups, we sometimes forget about the power of the side crunch. It’s okay though, most people do! That’s why we’re going to give you all the details on how to master the side crunch, so you can say goodbye to those pesky love handles and achieve the toned waistline you deserve!

Side Crunch Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Obliques
  • Secondary Muscles: Quadratus lumborum, Psoas major, Iliocastalis lumborum, and Iliocastalis thoracis
  • Equipment: Body Weight
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Pull
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit woman performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Side Crunch Instructions

  • Lie on your side in a seated position on the floor or a mat.
  • With both your legs together, your knees and hips bent, place one hand on the base on of neck or place your arms across upper your chest.
  • Flex your obliques, raising your upper torso off the mat or the floor.
  • Return until the side of your shoulder returns to the mat or the floor.
  • Repeat the Side Crunch for a complete set of 10 or more on one side. Then switch sides and complete another set of the same reps.

Video Tutorial


Side Crunch Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Psoas major
  • Iliocastalis lumborum
  • Iliocastalis thoracis

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the side crunch exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Side Crunch

The side crunch is an effective exercise for strengthening the obliques, which are the muscles on the side of the abdomen. This exercise also helps to improve core stability and posture, as well as providing an overall toning effect. By performing a side crunch in a strength training or fitness routine, you can target your obliques and develop greater stability and balance. Additionally, the side crunch can help to reduce lower back pain, as it helps to strengthen the muscles in the lower back and reduce strain. Furthermore, this exercise can also help to improve coordination and balance, as well as aiding in weight loss and improving overall fitness levels.

Tips for Performing Side Crunch

You’ve come to the right place if you’re trying to advance your side crunch execution. Using these suggestions can allow you to take full advantage of this amazing exercise. You will shape your obliques muscles, and even reduce your risk of experiencing an injury. Let’s begin and explore how these suggestions will benefit you.

  • Maintain proper form: The Side Crunch requires you to keep your back straight and your shoulders off the ground. This ensures that you are targeting the correct muscles and getting the most out of your workout.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize: Focus on your breathing and keeping your core tight during the exercise. This will help you stay in proper form and get the most out of each repetition.
  • Take your time: Don’t rush through the exercise, focus on each repetition and make sure to keep proper form throughout. Taking your time will help ensure that you get a quality workout and maximize the benefits of each crunch.

Benefits and Tips Video

Side Crunches With Your Knees Bent : Fitness Tips For Women

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When executing side crunch, avoiding typical errors is usually the difference between a productive workout and a debilitating injury. Additionally, achieving the most out of the exercise requires appropriate form, and making sure you don’t make any typical errors can allow you to perform the exercise better and obtain your desired results. Not only can preventing these errors increase your strength, but also can assist in you feeling more assured and motivated when you hit the gym. So it is time for you to optimize the impact of this exercise and experience the benefits of a productive workout.

  • Not engaging the core muscles: When performing the Side Crunch, people often forget to engage their core muscles, resulting in the exercise being ineffective and the wrong muscles being used.
  • Using momentum: Using momentum when performing the Side Crunch can be dangerous as it can lead to strain and possible injury.
  • Relying on arm strength alone: Relying on arm strength alone to perform the Side Crunch can also be dangerous as it puts too much strain on the arms, shoulders, and neck muscles.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

When doing the Side Crunch exercise, you can also incorporate some variations, complementary, or alternative exercises to help strengthen the same muscles. The following list of exercises are designed to target the same muscles as the Side Crunch exercise, but with a slightly different approach.

Side Bridge Twist

Graphic image of Side Bridge Twist.

The Side Bridge Twist is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Side Crunch. This exercise strengthens the obliques and stabilizes the core while also working on improving balance and coordination. To do this exercise, start by lying on your right side with your right forearm on the floor and your left hand placed behind your head. From here, lift your hips off the floor and twist your torso so your left elbow is facing the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. This exercise is a great addition to any core workout routine and can help to improve balance and core strength.

Side Bridge

Graphic image of Side Bridge.

Side Bridge is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Side Crunch. It focuses on building strength and stability in the core, glutes, and shoulder muscles. It also helps improve posture and balance. To perform a Side Bridge, start by lying on your side with your feet together and your elbow bent so that your forearm is supporting your upper body. Press your feet into the ground and lift your hips off the floor, keeping your body in a straight line. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds before lowering your hips back to the ground. This exercise is a great way to target the oblique muscles, as well as build overall core strength.

Oblique Crunch

Graphic image of Oblique Crunch.

The Oblique Crunch is a great exercise for targeting the abdominal muscles, especially the obliques. It is similar to the Side Crunch in that it strengthens the abdominal muscles, but differs in that it focuses more on the sides of the abdomen. The Oblique Crunch is a great complement or alternative to the Side Crunch as it targets the same muscles, but with a slightly different motion. This exercise can be done with a medicine ball or an exercise ball and can be done with either a crunching motion or a rotation motion. Either way, it is an excellent exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles and improving overall core strength.

Check Out These Top Bodyweight Exercises

Legs Up Twist Crunch

Graphic image of Legs Up Twist Crunch.

Legs Up Twist Crunch is a great complementary or alternative exercise to Side Crunch. It works the same oblique muscles, but also helps to engage the abs and lower back. This exercise requires you to lie on your back with both legs elevated in the air. Then, you bring one elbow up to the opposite knee, and twist your torso so that both knees touch. This move works both sides of the core muscles, making it an effective way to add variety and challenge to your routine.

Bicycle Twist Crunch

Graphic image of Bicycle Twist Crunch.

The Bicycle Twist Crunch is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Side Crunch. This exercise targets the oblique muscles, which are essential for stability and protection of your spine. It also helps improve your balance and posture. To perform this exercise, you lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent. Alternately twist your torso to the left and right while bringing your opposite elbow to the opposite knee. This exercise is a great way to engage more muscles than a Side Crunch and get a more comprehensive abdominal workout.

Twist Crunch

Graphic image of Twist Crunch.

Twist Crunch is a great alternative or complementary exercise for the Side Crunch. It helps to target the same muscles, such as the obliques and abs, as the Side Crunch does, but also adds a bit of an extra challenge by requiring you to twist your torso. To perform a Twist Crunch, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest, then raise your upper body off the floor and twist your torso to one side. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat this motion on each side for desired number of repetitions. This exercise is great for building core strength and stability, as well as toning the midsection.

Find More Abs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

By targeting the opposite muscle groups, you will help create balance in your body and ensure that you are not overworking any one group of muscles. The following exercises can be used to complement the Side Crunch, working the opposing muscle groups.

45 Degree One Leg Hyperextension

Graphic image of 45 Degree One Leg Hyperextension.

The 45 Degree One Leg Hyperextension is a great exercise for strengthening the lower back muscles. It works by flexing the lower back muscles as you slowly raise one leg up and out to the side. This exercise helps to balance out the side crunch exercise by using the opposing muscle group. The side crunch works on strengthening the obliques, while the 45 Degree One Leg Hyperextension works on strengthening the lower back muscles. By doing both exercises together, you can create a balanced workout that targets both areas and helps to improve overall core strength and stability.

45 Degree Hyperextension

Graphic image of 45 Degree Hyperextension.

The 45 degree hyperextension is a great complementary exercise to the side crunch. It works the opposing muscle group of the oblique, which is the lower back. The movement of the 45 degree hyperextension targets the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. This exercise is beneficial in strengthening and toning the lower back muscles, while also helping to balance out the body by working the opposing muscle group of the side crunch. Additionally, this exercise helps to improve overall posture and core stability.

Straight Leg Cable Pull Through

Graphic image of Straight Leg Cable Pull Through.

The Straight Leg Cable Pull Through is a great exercise for complementing the Side Crunch. This exercise works the opposing muscle group of the Side Crunch, primarily targeting the glutes and hamstrings. The Straight Leg Cable Pull Through is an effective way to balance out the Side Crunch and strengthen the posterior chain muscles. The exercise is performed by standing with a cable machine attached to a bar at hip height. You then pull the bar through your legs and stand up tall, squeezing your glutes at the top. This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the backside of your body and increases overall stability and posture.

Crunch to the Side: Strengthen Your Core with Side Crunch Exercises

If you’re looking for a way to improve your core strength, consider incorporating side crunch exercises into your fitness routine. These exercises focus on targeting the oblique muscles, which are located on the sides of your abdomen. Strengthening these muscles not only helps with achieving a toned physique, but also improves overall stability and balance. Adding side crunch exercises to your workout can also help prevent injury and improve posture. Remember to use proper form and start with a low number of reps, gradually increasing as you build strength.

References: Wikipedia | | | Comprehensive List of Abs Bodyweight Exercises

Pin image for side crunch post. With an image of a woman performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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