Side Crunches: Your Guide To Proper Form And Great Obliques

If you’ve been doing hundreds of side crunches but aren’t seeing any results, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in the same boat, frustrated with their lack of progress when it comes to toning their abs. The truth is, crunches alone won’t give you the results you’re looking for. The good news is, there is a solution! In this post, we’ll explore why side crunches aren’t enough and what exercises you can add to your routine to finally see those toned obliques.

Side Crunches 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 man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Side Crunches Instructions

  • Lie on your side with both your legs together and your knees and hips bent, similar to a seated position on the floor or a mat.
  • Place your upper hand base on of neck or place your arms across your body.
  • Flex your obliques, raising your upper torso off the mat or the floor, and push into the floor with your elbow that is down.
  • Return until the side of your shoulder returns to the mat or the floor.
  • Repeat your Side Crunches for a complete set of 10 or more on one side. Then switch sides and complete an additional set of the same reps.

Video Tutorial

How to Do Oblique Crunches for Beginners - Get Well-Rounded Abs

Side Crunches 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 crunches exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Side Crunches

Side crunches are an effective exercise for strengthening the obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of the abdomen. This exercise can help improve posture and balance, as well as help protect against lower back pain. Side crunches also target the obliques, which can help increase core strength and stability. Additionally, this exercise can improve overall abdominal strength, as well as help sculpt and tone the midsection. Furthermore, performing side crunches can help increase functional fitness and performance, aiding in activities such as sports, running, and everyday life.

Tips for Performing Side Crunches

Your at the right place if you’re trying to enhance your side crunches execution. These tips can allow you to fully benefit from this first-class exercise and make the best of its results. Concurrently with building your obliques muscles, improving mobility, and even a reduced possibility of injury can all be accomplished with this exercise. Let’s get started and look at what these tips can accomplish for you.

  • Engage your Core: Make sure to keep your core tight and engaged throughout the movement for maximum effectiveness. This will help you get the most out of your side crunches and maximize your results.
  • Keep Your Back Straight: Make sure to keep your back straight, as this will help you achieve the full range of motion of the side crunch and avoid any injury or strain.
  • Control Your Movements: Make sure to be in control of each and every movement, as this will help you to stay focused and make sure you’re doing the side crunch correctly. This will also help you build muscle and strength more efficiently.

Benefits and Tips Video

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Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to conducting side crunches, avoiding typical errors can be the difference between a productive workout and a debilitating injury. From bad form to not keeping your core engaged, these errors can diminish the productiveness of the exercise and can even increase your risk for injury. However, take it easy, it’s not quite as difficult as it might seem. By knowing the errors to avert and taking the appropriate actions, you may complete the exercise securely and effectively. Thus, it is now your turn to maximize your results from this exercise and enjoy the benefits of a successful workout.

  • Not keeping their back flat against the ground – This mistake prevents the abs from getting a proper workout and can cause back pain.
  • Not engaging their abs throughout the exercise – Without engaging the abs, the exercise becomes ineffective and there is no benefit to doing it.
  • Not using proper form – If someone does not use proper form when doing side crunches, they can put unnecessary strain on their neck and shoulders and also not target the abs as effectively.

Find More Bodyweight Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

The Side Crunches exercise is an effective way to target the obliques and other muscles on the sides of your abdomen. However, there are a number of variations, complementary, and alternative exercises that can help you add variety to your workout routine while still targeting the same muscles. Below are some of the best exercises that work similar muscles as the Side Crunches.

Side Bridge Hip Dip

Graphic image of Side Bridge Hip Dip.

The Side Bridge Hip Dip is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Side Crunch. This exercise targets the obliques and hip muscles, engaging them in a more dynamic movement. To perform the Side Bridge Hip Dip, start on your side with your elbow directly underneath your shoulder and your feet stacked on top of each other. Lift your hips off the ground and dip them down towards the ground. Keep your core tight and your hips in line with your shoulders as you lift and lower your hips. This exercise helps to strengthen and tone the obliques, as well as improving hip stability and balance.

Side Bridge Hip Abductor

Graphic image of Side Bridge Hip Abductor.

The Side Bridge Hip Abductor is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Side Crunch. This exercise works the hips, glutes, and core muscles, giving you an excellent workout that helps to strengthen and tone the entire body. The Side Bridge Hip Abductor requires you to lie on your side and then lift one leg up while keeping your upper body still and your other leg bent. This exercise helps to engage the core and strengthens the hips and glutes in a way that the Side Crunch alone cannot.

Horizontal Pallof Press With Bands

Graphic image of Horizontal Pallof Press With Bands.

The Horizontal Pallof Press with Bands is a great exercise to strengthen the core muscles and increase stability in the trunk. It is a great complementary exercise to Side Crunches, as it strengthens the same muscles but from a different angle. The Horizontal Pallof Press with Bands also provides an alternative to Side Crunches by providing a more dynamic motion that can help to increase core stability and strength. The Horizontal Pallof Press with Bands also adds an element of instability due to the use of bands, which can make the exercise more challenging and engaging.

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Hanging Oblique Knee Raises

Graphic image of Hanging Oblique Knee Raises.

Hanging Oblique Knee Raises are a great complementary or alternative exercise to Side Crunches. This exercise works the same muscles as side crunches, but with a different range of motion. To do Hanging Oblique Knee Raises, start by hanging from a pull-up bar with your arms straight and feet together. Then, raise your knees to one side and lower them back to the starting position. Repeat this motion on the other side. This exercise is great for building core strength, as well as toning your obliques and improving your balance.

Decline Twisting Sit Up

Graphic image of Decline Twisting Sit Up.

Decline Twisting Sit Ups are an effective alternative or complementary exercise to Side Crunches. This exercise is done by lying on a decline bench with your feet hooked under the footpads and your hands behind your head. From this position, you lift your torso off the bench and twist to the left and right, ensuring to keep your lower back pressed against the bench. This exercise is great for strengthening the abdominal muscles and obliques, which are essential for maintaining proper posture and providing stability for the spine.

Cross Oblique Crunch

Graphic image of Cross Oblique Crunch.

Cross Oblique Crunches are a great alternative or complementary exercise to Side Crunches. This exercise is done by lying on your back and crossing one ankle over the opposite knee. You then move the opposite arm across your body and reach for your ankle. When you lift your shoulder off the ground, you are targeting the oblique muscles. This exercise is a great way to add an extra challenge to your abdominal routine by working both sides of the core at the same time.

Find More Abs Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

Complementary exercises are important to round out a workout and target different muscles. To ensure that your workout is balanced and effective, it is important to focus on exercises that work the opposite muscle groups as the Side Crunches. Here are some exercises that do just that:

Barbell Good Morning

Graphic image of Barbell Good Morning.

The Barbell Good Morning is an excellent complementary exercise to Side Crunches, as it targets the opposing muscle group. It works the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, while Side Crunches target the obliques and rectus abdominis. The Barbell Good Morning is a compound exercise that allows you to lift heavy weight and strengthens the entire posterior chain. This can help to balance out your muscular development and improve your overall strength and performance.

Good Mornings With Bands

Graphic image of Good Mornings With Bands.

Good Mornings with Bands are a great exercise to pair with side crunches for a complete core workout. This exercise engages the muscles in the back and glutes, which are the opposing muscle group to the abdominals used in side crunches. Good Mornings with Bands can be done with the help of a resistance band or with just your own body weight. This exercise strengthens the muscles in the back and glutes, which helps to support the abdominals when doing side crunches. By working both the front and back sides of your core, you will be able to maximize your results and get the most out of your workout.

Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins

Graphic image of Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins.

The Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins is an ideal complement to Side Crunches, as it works the opposing muscle group. This exercise focuses on the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles, while Side Crunches target the obliques. The Smith Machine Good Morning Off Pins can be performed in a standing position, or seated with a weight plate on your chest for added resistance. The exercise provides a great way to strengthen the lower body and core muscles for improved balance, stability, and power. It can also help to improve posture and reduce the risk of injury.

Crunch Your Way to a Stronger Core!

A strong core is important for overall fitness and health. One way to strengthen your core is through side crunches. Side crunches are effective because they target the oblique muscles, which help with twisting and bending movements. They can also help with posture and balance. Adding side crunches to your workout routine can help improve your overall core strength, leading to better athletic performance and reduced risk of injury in daily life activities. Remember to always use proper form and consult with a trainer or health professional if you are new to this exercise.

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

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

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