Because they're both abs workouts, you know that sit-ups and crunches are designed to strengthen your core in some way. But what is the real distinction between the two? Aren't they similar in some ways? They aren't, as it turns out. The key distinction between the two is that, unlike a sit-up, the lower back never leaves the floor in a crunch.

The sit-up targets numerous muscle groups at once by elevating your torso off the ground, including your hip flexors, rectus abdominis (also known as six-pack abs muscles), transverse abdominis (deep core muscles), obliques (side abs), and lower-back muscles. The crunch is a standalone exercise that just targets your rectus abdominis (mainly your upper six-pack).

Which exercise is "better" for you depends on the muscle you're trying to strengthen. Begin by answering the following questions: Do you want to get the most bang for your money by working for numerous muscle groups at the same time, or do you want to focus on muscle isolation? If it's the former, you probably don't do many sit-ups. What about the latter? Crunches might be your thing.

It wouldn't hurt if we became a little more specific, though. Continue reading to learn the specifics of both crunches vs sit-ups, as determined by professionals.

Table Of Contents

  1. What Are Crunches And Its Benefits?
  2. What Are Sit-ups And Its Benefits?
  3. Crunches Vs Sit-ups
  4. How To Do Sit-ups And Crunches Exercises For Beginners?
  5. Variations In Crunches
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. The Bottom Line

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What Are Crunches And Its Benefits?

Crunches are a type of exercise that strengthens your abs and core muscles. You begin by lying down on your back and tightening your abs. You then lift your head and shoulders off the floor, but not all the way up like you would with a sit-up. You can get hurt if you do them wrong, but if you do them correctly, you can gain a lot of fitness benefits by doing crunches exercises at home like:-

1. Strengthens The Abs 

Crunches should be incorporated into your routines if you want to work on your six-pack. Crunches target your abs and teach them to synchronise their movements. Other workouts, such as push-ups, side planks, and glute bridges, also assist to strengthen your core, but crunches target them specifically. More core strength is another advantage.

2. Strength Building 

Another advantage of crunches, as previously mentioned, is that they help to strengthen your core. Better posture and balance are made possible by stronger core muscles. This allows your body to work more efficiently in everyday tasks, as well as when you exercise or compete in sporting events or contests. A strong core and proper posture can also help you avoid injuries and back pain.

3. Burns Calories 

You already know that crunches make you stronger, but did you realise that they can also help you lose weight? That's true, just a few minutes of crunches can help you burn a lot of calories. Consider the following scenario: A person weighing 160 pounds would burn 54 calories doing moderate crunches for 10 minutes, whereas strong crunches would burn 98 calories. A 190-pound person will burn 65 and 116 calories, respectively. You could burn up to 300 calories if you did crunches for a half-hour.

4. Performance Area 

Crunches are one of the best exercises because they can be done anywhere and do not require a gym membership. You can do a set before work, at lunch, or during your break. You can continue to practice crunches even if you're on vacation or travelling.

5. Reduced Risk Of Injury 

Crunches strengthen the lower back, hips, and pelvis as well. A strong core allows for a solid, firm centre, which reduces the likelihood of back pain and damage. While it's a frequent misconception that crunches cause injuries, a 2010 research of US Army soldiers revealed that including or excluding crunches from an exercise regimen resulted in similar musculoskeletal ailments. Crunches are likely to be healthy and can even relieve back discomfort as long as you do them carefully.

What Are Sit-ups And Its Benefits?

Situps are traditional abdominal workouts in which you lie down on your back and lift your torso. The core-stabilizing abdominal muscles are strengthened and toned using your body weight. In addition to your hip flexors, chest, and neck, situps engage the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. They strengthen your lower back and gluteal muscles, which helps you maintain good posture. Situps target more muscles than crunches and static core exercises since they have a wider range of motion. As a result, they're an excellent supplement to your training routine. Because of their simplicity and efficiency, situps are frequently utilised in fitness programs. Here are a few reasons why you should include situps in your fitness program.

1. Core strength

One of the most compelling reasons to do situps is to improve core strength. Back discomfort and injuries can be reduced by strengthening, tightening, and toning your core. As you go about your routine and partake in physical activities, you'll be able to move more freely.

2. Improved muscle mass

Situps improve the abdominal and hip muscles strength. The performance of the sit-ups could be a good measure of muscle atrophy. According to a 2016 study, older women who could do situps were less likely to suffer sarcopenia, which is the natural loss of muscle that occurs as people age. Women who could perform more than ten situps had more muscle mass and function. While these findings are encouraging, more research is needed to confirm them.

3. Better Athleticism

Athletes with strong core muscles have more muscular strength and endurance. A strong core allows you to maintain good posture, stability, and form when participating in any sport or physical activity. You'll also be less prone to become exhausted.

4. Better balance and stability

One of the most compelling reasons to do situps is to improve core strength. Back discomfort and injuries can be reduced by strengthening, tightening, and toning your core. 

5. Increased flexibility

Stiffness in your spine and hips can be relieved by moving your spine. Situps promote hip and back flexibility, allowing you to move more freely and relieve tension and tightness. Flexibility enhances circulation, focus, and energy levels while reducing stress.

6. Improved posture

It's simpler to keep your hips, spine, and shoulders in line when you have a strong, stable core, which helps with posture. Less pain and tension, more energy, and better breathing are all advantages of proper posture.

Crunches Vs Sit-ups

The Right Way To Perform

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground for a perfect crunch. Lift your head and chest off the ground until you feel your abdominal muscles contract, then lower your head. Do not jerk your head; instead, place your hands on your chest, fingertips on your ears, or both.

For a good sit-up, though, lie down with your back on the ground, knees bent, and feet on the ground. Place your fingertips behind your ear or cross your arms over your chest. Without jerking the head, raise the head and chest to the full sitting posture. The neck should be flexed forward slightly. Return your head to the ground and repeat the process.

Muscles Involved

Sit-ups work muscles that stabilise postures such as the chest, back, neck, lower-leg muscles, and hips, whereas crunches primarily exercise the abdominal muscles and hip flexors.

The Lower Back

The lower back does not move off the ground during crunches, but the entire body does during sit-ups.

Risk involved

Because full sit-ups involve the hip flexors, which can force the lower back to arch, creating pain, there is a greater danger of back injury with sit-ups, especially if your abs are weak. Crunches, on the other hand, are a simple exercise that everyone can do.

Calories Burn

Sit-ups burn more calories than crunches, but if neither method is executed correctly, no calories will be burned.


If you want to include crunches exercises as a beginner in your workout, stick to a moderate number, as you would with any other exercise, and three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions should do. It is now recommended that you mix three sets of sit-ups with 25 to 50 repetitions every day when it comes to sit-ups.

How To Do Sit-ups And Crunches Exercises For Beginners?

How to do a Proper Crunch

  • Lie down on the floor with your legs bent at the knees and your feet shoulder-width apart. Rest your arms at your sides on the floor, cross them on your chest, or lightly hold your hands at your ears.
  • To feel your abdominal muscles contract, raise only your head and shoulders off the floor. Keep your eyes above and ahead of you instead of dragging or flexing your head forward.
  • Get back to where you started. As you climb, exhale, and as you drop, inhale.

How to do a Proper Sit-up

  • You can add more stability by hooking your feet beneath a stable object, but this will employ muscles in the hips and legs instead of the abs, putting less stress on the core.
  • Place your fingertips at your ears, or lightly rest your hands behind your head, crossed on your chest, or at your sides. For less back involvement, the neck should be somewhat flexed (head tucked forward).
  • Concentrate on curling your upper body off the floor using abdominal strength until you are upright in a semi-seated position. As you rise, exhale. As you return to the floor, take a deep breath.

Variations In Crunches

1. Oblique crunches

Apart from exercising to strengthen your abdominal muscles, oblique crunches provide a great stretch for your upper body. When you cross your legs on the other side, your body twists and becomes more flexible. The oblique muscles, which are located on the sides of your stomach, are targeted. Regularly performing these crunches will enhance the contour of your abdomen.

Follow these steps:

  • On your back, lie down.
  • Your palms should be at the back of your head.
  • Maintain a straight line with your knees.
  • Place your left leg on top of your right leg.
  • Raise your torso off the floor a little.
  • Before swapping sides, repeat 10 times.

2. Reverse crunches

Reverse crunches, as the name implies, involve pulling your lower body towards your torso instead of elevating your upper body off the floor. Another way to accentuate your abdominal muscles and improve your core is by doing crunches. In addition, reverse crunches help to increase hip joint mobility. In an alternative motion, the hamstrings and quadriceps are likewise stretched.

Follow these steps:

  • On your back, lie down.
  • Placing your palms beneath your bottom is a good idea.
  • Knees should be bowed and legs should be connected.
  • Raise your feet off the ground.
  • Lift your legs towards the ceiling and your torso.
  • Repeat 10 times in a continuous motion.

3. Bicycle crunches

Nothing beats bicycle crunches for toning your muscles. Lifting your upper body off the floor to strengthen your core is one of them, as is twisting your torso laterally to activate the oblique muscles. It also involves bending and straightening your legs alternately, which strengthens the knee joints and tones the thighs.

Follow these steps:

  • On your back, lie down.
  • Your palms should be at the back of your head.
  • Raise your torso off the floor a little.
  • Maintain core muscular engagement.
  • Make a 90-degree bend in your legs.
  • Make sure your knees are in line with your hips.
  • Straighten one knee while tucking the other towards your torso.
  • In a smooth motion, switch your legs.
  • Twist your torso to the sides alternately.

4. Vertical crunches

Vertical crunches are a version in which the upper body is solely responsible for developing the core muscles. Your legs must remain in a constant position parallel to your hips. The knees must remain straight. Your lower body will get stronger and more flexible as a result of this. At the same time, you must lift your torso off the floor to sculpt your abdominal muscles.

Follow these steps:

  • On your back, lie down.
  • Your palms should be at the back of your head.
  • Lift your legs off the floor, keeping your knees straight.
  • Make sure your feet and hips are in sync.
  • Raise your shoulders and torso off the floor.
  • Rep 10 times in a continuous motion.

5. Frog crunches

Frog crunches have a lower range of action than regular crunches. Their main goal is to do a large number of repetitions in a short time to burn belly fat. As a result, your abdominal muscles take on a more prominent shape, and your torso becomes tougher than before. When you bend and straighten your knees and elbows alternately, you are exercising them.

Follow these steps:

  • Take a seat on the floor.
  • Extend your arms to the sides, shoulder-to-shoulder.
  • Bend your knees and elevate your feet off the floor slightly.
  • Draw your legs closer to your chest and encircle them with your arms.
  • Return your arms to their starting positions.
  • Straighten your legs at the same time.
  • Rep 10 times in a continuous motion.

6. Swiss ball crunches

Swiss ball crunches increase your balance as well as strengthening your abdominal muscles. This is because the exercise requires you to rest your back against an inflated ball and ensure that it does not move when you elevate your upper body off the floor. Furthermore, these crunches strengthen your hip joints by requiring them to be steady and centred at all times.

Follow these steps:

  • Rest your back against a swiss ball that has been inflated.
  • Bend your knees and firmly plant your feet on the ground.
  • Your palms should be at the back of your head.
  • Raise your head and shoulders off the swiss ball.
  • While doing this, keep your pelvis in place.
  • Return to your original position by releasing your upper body.
  • Rep 10 times in a continuous motion.

Variations In Sit-ups

The sit-up can be done in a variety of ways. You may make abdominal work a little simpler and softer by using equipment like an exercise ball or a resistance band. Dumbbells or kettlebells, for example, can be used to accomplish a more intense sit-up. You can add diversity to your exercise by rotating your upper body and changing the position of your arms or legs. Here are five possibilities:

1. Butterfly Sit-up

Place the soles of your feet together while lying on your back. Allow your knees to fall outwards as if you were a butterfly. Stretch your arms over your head, straighten up with the help of your abs, and place your hands on your feet. You can also clap your hands on the floor in front of you. Return to the starting position and calmly repeat the movement. The stronger the cardiac component, the faster you go. The Butterfly Sit-up is a popular strength endurance exercise for HIIT workouts for a reason.

2. Sit-up with an exercise ball

Start by lying down on an exercise ball rather than on the floor. Firmly plant your feet on the ground. Your tailbone should be on the ball, and your entire lower back, up to the lower half of your shoulder blades, should be supported. Your upper back should gently float. Roll up slowly with your upper body, bringing your hands behind your head. Pulling on your head is not advised, as the hands should only be used as mild support. Even when lowering, pull the navel towards the ribs and maintain torso tension.

3. Sit-up with a resistance band

This is a great option for novices who want to ease into sit-ups. Wrap a band around your feet and clasp both ends in your palms. The latex resistance band's force will make it easier to sit up. Instead of bending your legs, you can stretch them straight on the floor for a more intense workout.

4. Sit-up with dumbbells

Sit-ups with added weight are an excellent alternative for the more advanced. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (or a heavier dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest) and tighten your tummy. When you get to the peak, you can punch the air or raise the dumbbells above your head towards the ceiling. Both modifications increase the movement's intensity.

5. Sit-up with a twist

Begin by lying down on your back with your legs hip-width apart on the mat. Cross your arms in front of your chest, clasp your hands in a pistol shape in front of your stomach, or put your fingertips to your temples. Raise your shoulder blades off the floor, strain your stomach, and stand up straight. In the rising movement, rotate to one side. Bring the outstretched arms along the side of the other leg or the elbow to the opposite knee. Return to the floor and repeat on the opposite side. This variation targets the lateral abdominal muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are crunches and sit-ups both focus only on reducing belly fat? 

No, crunches and sit-ups do not only focus on reducing belly fat. There are numerous other benefits that these do exercises provide to the human body, as detailed above in the benefits section of these exercises.

2. Crunches Vs Sit-ups - Which is better for losing belly fat? 

There is no clear-defined answer to this question as both these exercises are very similar to each other and are equally effective to help a person lose belly fat. 

3. What is the best time to do crunches?

The afternoon is the greatest time of day to do crunches for the best effects. Why? It all comes down to your spine. It's not a good idea to push yourself first thing in the morning. Your spine naturally lengthens while you sleep. The flexible intervertebral discs between your vertebrae compress somewhat throughout the day then uncompress at night when you're lying down, which causes this. What does this entail for your flat-belly workout, though? Ab exercises can cause your spine to contract and harm the discs that uncompress at sleep. So practising ab workouts immediately soon after waking up decompressed is like a shock to your spine. Give your discs some time to recuperate after absorbing water and expanding overnight, and reserve your crunches until later in the day!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to crunches vs. sit-ups, it all boils down to personal preference, as they are both helpful for distinct purposes. They also have some similarities, such as the fact that they both start from the same position, are inexpensive, and do not require any equipment. Before you begin a new workout, it's usually a good idea to be cautious. Don't take on more than you can handle, and do it slowly at first.

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