From the Blog

How Many Crunches a Day for Fat Loss?

How many crunches a day does it take to give you a six pack? This is a popular question among gym-goers, and with good reason. If you’re looking to burn fat and get a flat stomach, you’ve probably been told to do crunches. However, truth be told, crunches are not the most effective exercise for burning fat and could potentially be harmful to your back.


Why Crunches are Ineffective for Fat Burning

Fit woman in sports bra and shorts showing her defined mid-section

Crunches are an isolation exercise that only works a small number of muscles in your abdomen. They do not engage your core muscles, which are the deep muscles supporting your spine and pelvis and are essential for burning fat.

In addition, they can actually put strain on your back, especially if you have poor posture or a weak core, or aren’t performing them correctly. Any of these can lead to pain and injury.

Studies have shown that it takes more than 22,000 crunches to lose 1 lb. of fat. Think of how long it would take you to complete this many crunches!

It should come as no surprise that there are more effective exercises for fat loss.

The Science Behind It

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that crunches are not effective for burning fat. The study compared the effects of this exercise to the effects of other exercises such as mountain climbers and planks. The results showed that mountain climbers and planks burned significantly more calories, and they also engaged the core muscles more effectively.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, found that crunches can actually increase the risk of back pain. The study found that people who did crunches were more likely to report back pain than people who did not.

More Effective Exercises

It is important to point out that proper nutrition is key to seeing your abdominal muscles. However, you also have to target your abs with exercise so when you shed fat, you are nicely defined.

How do you do this? Performing total body exercises like squat thrusts, burpees, or mountain climbers are much more effective exercises for burning fat and engaging your core than crunches. These are compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, including your legs, arms, and core. They also elevate your heart rate, which helps you burn more calories.