How To Ab Machine Crunch

Ab Machine Crunches (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

If you have access to an Ab Crunch Machine at your gym, Machine Ab Crunches can be an excellent addition to your core training. Being able to use a machine weight stack that’s already “ready to go” is a really convenient way to add resistance to your ab training, something many athletes miss out on.

In this guide, I will cover how to properly use a machine for ab crunches, as well as offer some variations and tips to make the most out of your ab workout.

How To Do Ab Machine Crunches

Equipment Needed

  • Ab Machine

Muscles Worked

Muscles Worked - Rectus Abdominis
Muscles Worked – Rectus Abdominis
  • Rectus Abdominis

Step-by-Step Instructions

Note: This may vary slightly from one ab machine to another as not all ab machines are built exactly the same.

  • Adjust the machine to fit your body. Make sure the pads are positioned comfortably on your upper back and the handles are within reach.
  • Sit on the machine and grip the handles.
  • Engage your core and lift your upper body off the pads, bringing your elbows towards your knees.
  • Slowly lower your upper body back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Coaching Points

Keep your movements slow and controlled, rather than jerky. Also, make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise.

Avoid pulling on the handles too hard, as this can strain your neck and shoulders.

If the resistance is too easy or too hard, simply adjust the weight on the machine accordingly.

Benefits of Ab Machine Crunches

There are several benefits to doing Ab Machine Crunches:

Improved core strength: Oftentimes, athletes (and recreational lifters) can get into a routine of only doing bodyweight style abs like crunches and situps. Ab Machine Crunches adds weighted resistance to your core training which is an important aspect of developing ab strength.

Improved core stability: Strong abs can help to improve your overall stability, which can be beneficial for activities such as lifting weights, running, or playing sports.

Reduced back pain: Weak abs can contribute to back pain, as they are unable to support the spine properly. By strengthening your abs, you may be able to reduce or prevent back pain.

Ab Machine Crunch Alternatives

Need an alternative exercise for Ab Machine Crunches? Here are a few core exercises that you may be able to use as a substitute.

Cable Crunches

Cable Crunches
Photo Credit: Skydive Erick /

Another great way to add resistance to your core routine is with Cable Crunches.

Cable Crunches are very similar to an Ab Machine Crunch. The main difference is simply that you’re not sitting in a chair but rather kneeling in front of a cable pulley machine. The movement pattern is the same and the ability to go in weight as you get stronger is the same.

If you have access to a cable pulley machine, Cable Crunches would be my first suggestion as an alternative.

Weighted Sit-ups

If you’re limited on equipment, the best way to add resistance to your core training is with an exercise like Weighted Sit-ups.

You can do sit-ups as you normally would, but hold a weight at your chest as you do. The weight can be a weight plate, dumbbell or even a kettlebell.

Final Thoughts

If you’d like to see more ab exercises make sure to head over to the Core section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of core exercises, all with complete detailed instructions.

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