A Safe Way to do Crunches

A Safe Way to do Crunches

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Hey! this is Rick Kaselj from ExercisesForInjuries.com and Fix My Back Pain. I wanted to go through a safe crunch exercise that is good on the back.

I will get Orsy to demonstrate the typical crunch or sit up that you end up seeing.


With this one we are going through this and it ends up putting a lot of load on the spine; and a lot of times what people say is that it makes their back sore, it irritates their back and sometimes it will end up leading to a back injury.

A Safe Way to Do the Crunch 

There is a safe way to tweak this crunch or sit up to make it safe. This tweak works the abdominal area but puts a low load on the spine. And this one is called a curl up.


 I will get Orsy to lie back, and what Orsy is doing is one leg is straight and I am bending the other one. What this ends up doing is it ends up locking the pelvis so it doesn’t rock back and forth. It keeps the pelvis where it’s at and keeps that curve in the spine in order to not put that much stress on that low back area. If that pelvis tilts back or if that back flattens out, we lose the arch and we put that back at greater risk and greater strain.

Then what Orsy is going to do is she will put one of her hands underneath her low back and that hand will be her gauge when it comes to maintaining that curve in the spine; so there shouldn’t be a drastic increase in the pressure on her hand and she will want to maintain that curve and maintain a constant pressure of her body on her hand. Now the other hand is put behind her head so she ends up cupping her head in order to keep her head aligned with the rest of her body.


Now, what Orsy is going to do now is curl up.

She is just going to start off with lifting her head off the mat and coming back up, which is working on the rectus abdominal area, the six pack that people end up wanting to work.


And then she can make it more difficult by lifting up a little bit higher so that the shoulder blades come off a touch, and then the third level is coming up and holding for a second or two and then coming back down.

A Summary of the Curl Up Exercise

There you go. Give that exercise a go. If you end up doing sit ups, and they irritate your back, try the Curl up modification remembering:

  • One leg straight, one leg bent. That locks the pelvis.
  • One hand underneath your lower back in order to maintain the curve in your back.
  • The other hand is behind your neck in order keep your head in alignment with the rest of your spine.

Then you are focusing on that movement happening in the mid back area, lifting up as opposed to in your lower back. And pick the level that works best for you, just lifting your head off, lifting your shoulder blades off or going to a hold.

So this is Rick Kaselj from ExercisesForInjuries.com or Fix My Back Pain .

If you are looking for a program to help you with your back pain, check out Fix My Back Pain:


Take care and bye.

Rick Kaselj, MS