Calories Burned Doing Crunches
Depending on your weight and exercise intensity, you’ll burn about 4.4 calories for each minute you do crunches, which equates to about 264 calories per hour. The best part about doing crunches is that you can do a lot within one set and burn plenty more calories each minute.
Calories Burned with Ab Exercises (weight: 170 lbs)
|Exercises||MET||30 min.||60 min.|
|Abdominal Roll Wheel||4||162||324|
|Hanging Knee Tucks||3.2||130||259|
How the Calculator Works
To figure out how many calories you’ll burn from doing crunches, you’ll want to use this calculator since it incorporates MET values to give you an accurate amount of how many calories you’ll burn.
What is a MET Value?
MET stands for metabolic equivalent of task, and MET values allow us to give you an estimated expenditure of energy for many different activities, such as doing crunches at the gym or at home.
A MET value is a ratio between the working metabolic rate and the resting metabolic rate , which is the rate of energy that is used relative to the duration of time spent doing activities such as crunches.
If an activity has a MET value of 1, this means that the activity burns the same amount of calories as you would when you’re at rest.
Almost all activities that you can think of have MET values assigned to them. Check out our other articles on activities like hunting, football, and burpees to compare the MET values of different activities.
The formula that our crunches calculator uses to determine the number of calories burned per minute is (body weight in Kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200.
A person weighing 200 pounds will burn approximately 264 calories per hour from doing crunches. This activity has a MET of 2.8, which means that it burns 2.8 times as many calories compared to being at rest.
This is what the formula for calculating the calories burned while doing crunches will look like for a 200-pound individual at a MET value of 2.8.
- Calories burned (per minute) = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = ( 90.7 x 2.8 x 3.5 ) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = 4.4 calories x 60
- Calories burned (per hour) = 264 calories per hour
How to do Crunches
Crunches may seem like a very easy exercise to do, but it can often be difficult to get the correct form down and perfect your breathing technique at the same time. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to crunches:
- Lie down on your back. Plant your feet on the floor, hip-width apart. Bend your knees and place your arms across your chest. Contract your abs and inhale.
- Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
- Inhale and return to the starting position.
- You should always be mindful that you’re using your core to raise your upper body. If the primary movement comes from your head or neck, you’ll likely strain these muscles and increase the risk of injury.
- Make sure that you do crunches in a slow and controlled motion. Doing crunches with rapid movement doesn’t engage the right muscles and you won’t get the benefits that come with doing crunches the right way.
- Placing your hands behind your head can also lead to straining the neck. We recommend placing your hands on your chest, but you can try with your hands behind your head after you’ve mastered the basic crunch.
Pros and Cons of Crunches
As with any exercise, there are going to be benefits and some potential drawbacks and things that you should be aware of before working the exercise into your routine. Below are the pros and cons of doing crunches:
The primary benefit of crunches is that it isolates the abs and almost exclusively works this entire muscle group. If you’re trying to tone your abs and see some definition this summer, crunches will be a great way to reach those goals.
Crunches can also be done without virtually any gym equipment. You can do crunches in the gym, at home, outside, and pretty much anywhere. You can opt for a mat to lay on if you want to take it easy on your back when doing crunches.
Crunches are also very beginner-friendly and easy to learn. Follow the step-by-step instructions we laid out above and you should be on your way to learning crunches and being able to add them into your workout routine.
While there are plenty of good reasons to do crunches, there are also some downsides that you should be aware of before you go do hundreds of crunches each day.
The biggest con of crunches is that the exercise only targets the abs. The standard crunch doesn’t engage the obliques or other core muscles very well, so it’s not an ideal exercise if you’re looking to strengthen your entire core.
The best way around this is to work in some of the crunch variations that we will talk about later in this article.
Believe it or not, crunches pose a risk of injury if you don’t perform them with the right form. The most common injuries are to the neck and back since your spine flexes when doing crunches and puts strain on these areas.
If crunches aren’t your favorite exercise or you find that you strain your neck and back while doing them, there are other alternatives to crunches that you can do and still get a great core workout.
The mountain climber exercise is great since it engages your core and hips. In addition to working these muscles, mountain climbers also train your arms and thighs, making this exercise a great full-body workout that you can be sure will tire you out fast.
To do mountain climbers:
- Start on all fours, hands about shoulder-width apart and knees about hip-width apart. Brace your core.
- Move your right thigh toward your chest and place your toes on the floor. Straighten your left leg behind you, flex your foot, and place it on the floor.
- Swiftly switch legs without moving your arms. Repeat.
Side plank rotation
The side plank rotation exercise is an advanced form of the traditional plan that works your abs, shoulders, and obliques while challenging your balancing skills. If you don’t have much experience with the traditional plank, we recommend learning that first.
To do this exercise:
- Lie on the floor on your right side. Place your right elbow under your shoulder and put your left hand behind your neck. Align your head, spine, and legs.
- Contract your core. Lift your hips while keeping your body straight. Rotate your trunk, moving your left elbow to the floor. Return to the starting position.
- After completing your desired number of reps, switch sides and repeat.
Side planks are meant to be difficult, so if you can only do one or a few at first, don’t be discouraged and keep trying until you can do 8-12 reps on each side.
Stability ball knee tucks
Using the stability ball in this exercise adds another element of balance and also works your upper body since you need to hold yourself up on the ball constantly.
To do stability ball knee tucks, you’ll start by elevating your feet on top of the ball while you stay in a pushup position with your hand planted firmly on the ground.
You want to ensure that you keep the core tight and slowly tuck your knees towards your chest until your toes are on top of the ball. Then extend your legs back to the starting position and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
More Calorie Calculators
Try out our other calorie-based calculators below.
- Calories Burned Pilates
- Calories Burned Yoga
- Calories Burned Walking
- Calories Burned Running
- Calories Burned Hiking
- Calories Burned Elliptical
- Calories Burned Weightlifting
- Calories Burned Jump rope
- Calories Burned Playing Badminton
- Calories Burned Backpacking
- Calories Burned Chopping Wood
- Calories Burned From Archery
- Calorie Deficit Calculator
The Bottom Line
Crunches still may be the most popular ab exercise out there, but you should know everything about the exercise before you decide to add this exercise to your routine.
You should make sure that you have the correct form before doing crunches to be confident that won’t strain your neck or back.
Since crunches don’t target other areas of the core, it’s a great idea to mix in some of the other alternatives to crunches that we mentioned here to get a full-body workout.
Be sure to use our calculator to get an idea of how many calories you can expect to burn while doing crunches, and be sure to check out all the other calculators that we have to offer at Fitness Volt!
- Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Clinical cardiology, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809