How Many Crunches a Day to Get in Shape?

fitness, sport, training, teamwork and people concept - woman with personal trainer doing sit ups in gym
Crunches work the rectus abdominis, but won't get you in shape. (Image: dolgachov/iStock/Getty Images)

If you complete 300 crunches a day, you might build a little muscle — but, more likely, you'll be left with a sore stomach and not much else. The crunch and its big brother, the sit-up, can play a role in an abdominal workout routine to boost strength, but it's far from the best exercise you can do — and it won't get you in shape.

Instead, to get in shape — that is, to lose fat and build muscle so you have excellent cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength — you must undertake a comprehensive healthy-eating plan and workout routine that includes both cardio and strength-training. Although crunches can be part of that strength-training, it shouldn't be the only exercise you do.

Tip

If you want to do crunches as part of your workout routine, stick to a moderate amount like you would with any other exercise — three sets of 10 to 12 reps is generally sufficient.

Vary your crunches by doing bicycle crunches, reverse crunches and oblique crunches to hit multiple muscles. However, keep in mind that even if you build muscle by doing crunches, you won't see the results if it's hidden under a layer of stomach fat.

How to Get in Shape

Getting in shape takes more than doing crunches, no matter how many you might do. Instead, work on your eating plan and increase your physical activity.

Superior Ab Exercises

If you want to strengthen the muscles in your abdomen, there are options that are more effective than crunches.

Woman Doing Fitness Exercises On Mat In Bedroom
Instead of crunches, try doing planks during your ab routine. (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.