Side Crunches: How to Sculpt and Strengthen Your Obliques


Side crunches are an effective abdominal exercise for strengthening and toning the core muscles of the body. This type of crunch is often overlooked in favor of traditional crunches, but it is an excellent way to target and tone both sides of the abdominal wall. With proper form, side crunches can be a great addition to any workout routine. In this article, you will learn how to perform side crunches safely and effectively.

What are Side Crunches?

Side crunches are an excellent exercise for targeting your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your abdomen. This exercise works to strengthen and tone your core muscles for better stability and abdominal definition. The movement consists of lying sideways on the floor, with one arm behind your head and the other extended out in front. From this starting position, you crunch up towards your knees and then lower yourself back down, engaging your muscles the entire time.

Benefits of side crunches

Side crunches offer a number of benefits for people looking to tone and strengthen their core muscles. These types of crunches target your obliques, which are often neglected in traditional abdominal exercises. Strengthening these muscles can help improve posture, balance, and stability. Additionally, side crunches can help reduce back pain, improve your range of motion in the spine, and reduce the risk of injury.

Technique of Side Crunches

Preparatory position

The preparatory position for side crunches is very simple. Begin by lying on your side with your legs extended, and place the arm that is on top behind your head. Your other arm should be extended out in front of you, with your palm facing down to the ground. Make sure your hips and shoulders are stacked, forming a straight line from head to toe. Now draw your belly button in and up towards your spine, keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise.


Once you are in the preparatory position, you can begin your side crunches. Start by slowly bringing your knees towards your chest as you crunch up and then lower back down again. Make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time and focus on using your obliques to do the movement. Try not to swing or use momentum to lift yourself up; instead use controlled, slow movements. Aim to do at least 8-10 repetitions per side for best results.

Common Mistakes

When performing side crunches, it is important to pay attention to your form. Poor form can lead to injury and diminish the effectiveness of the exercise. Some of the most common mistakes people make when doing side crunches are using momentum to lift themselves up, not engaging their core muscles, and not keeping their hips and shoulders lined up in a straight line.

Variations of Side Crunches

Standing side crunches

Standing side crunches are a great variation of the traditional side crunch exercise. This variation requires you to stand up instead of lying down, and can be done with or without weights. To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands clasped together in front of your chest. Then, twist to one side while keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground. Bend at the waist and bring your hands towards your opposite knee as you crunch. Make sure to keep your core tight and return to the starting position.

Side plank crunches

Side plank crunches are an advanced variation of side crunches that target the abdominal muscles as well as the obliques. This exercise requires you to be in a side plank position with your feet stacked on top of each other and your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. From here, crunch up and bring both knees towards your chest while keeping your hips lifted. Then, return to the starting position and repeat.

Safety Precautions and Tips

Precautions to take

When performing side crunches, it is important to take a few safety precautions. First and foremost, make sure that you have cleared the exercise with your doctor before beginning any new workout routine. Additionally, pay close attention to your form and focus on using slow, controlled movements. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise and avoid swinging or using momentum to lift yourself up. Finally, avoid holding your breath and focus on breathing throughout the movement.

Tips for accomplishing Side crunches

Accomplishing side crunches can seem intimidating, but with a few simple tips, you can master this effective core exercise in no time. Start by focusing on your form and make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time. Additionally, use slow, controlled movements and avoid using momentum or swinging to lift yourself up. Also pay close attention to your breath and try to breathe in and out as you crunch. Finally, challenge yourself by adding weights or increasing the number of reps. With practice you will soon be able to do side crunches with ease!

Alternative ab exercises to do

Suitable ab exercises for side crunches

Side crunches are an effective core exercise that targets the obliques as well as the abdominal muscles. However, if you are looking to mix up your ab routine there are also plenty of other suitable exercises you can do. Here are some alternative ab exercises that work similar muscle groups as side crunches:

Russian twists: Russian twists are a great way to target the obliques and also work the core muscles. To do this exercise, sit on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Place your hands together in front of you and twist to one side and then back to center. Try to keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement.

Reverse crunches: Reverse crunches are another great ab exercise that also targets the obliques. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs in the air and knees bent. Then, using your core, lift your hips off the ground while bringing both knees towards your chest.

Plank twists: Plank twists are an effective yet challenging ab exercise that requires you to be in a plank position. To begin, get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. Then, twist to one side while keeping your hips level and return back to the starting position.


Side crunches are a great exercise to target the obliques and strengthen the abdominal muscles. When performing this exercise, make sure to use slow, controlled movements and keep your core tight. Additionally, pay close attention to your form and avoid holding your breath or using momentum to lift yourself up. If you are looking for other ab exercises to add into your routine, consider Russian twists, reverse crunches, or plank twists. With practice and dedication you will soon be able to master side crunches and other ab exercises with ease!

Finally, it’s important to remember that side crunches are a great exercise to target the obliques and strengthen the abdominal muscles. However, it is important to make sure you are using proper form and taking safety precautions while doing this move. To ensure you are getting the most out of your workout, challenge yourself by increasing reps or adding weights. With dedication and practice, you will soon master side crunches and other ab exercises with ease!


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