Vertical leg crunch

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Rectus Abdominis
  • Synergists: Internal and External Obliques
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Lie supine (on your back) with your lower back pressed against the floor.
  2. Raise your arms and legs straight up into the air.


  1. Exhale as you slowly flex your abdomen and try to touch your toes with your fingers.
  2. Try to hold the contracted position for a count of two.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your neck level with your torso and your lower back pressed against the floor.
  • You can bend your knees a little and/or cross your legs if it makes the exercise easier.
  • Instead of reaching up to touch your toes, you can place your hands behind your head (see video).
  • To make the vertical leg crunch more difficult, hold a weight plate in your extended hands or behind your head.
  • In one study, the vertical leg crunch was found to produce 29% more mean activity in the rectus abdominis and 116% more mean activity in the obliques than the regular crunch.
  • Also known as the crunch up.

Vertical leg crunch video



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