Pilates Move: Back to Basics With The Crunch

Pilates Move Of The Week: Back to Basics With The Crunch
Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Oct 14, 2021

The crunch is one of the simplest and most basic abdominal exercises that aims to strengthen your Rectus Abdominus (six pack muscle). The basic movement here is flexion of the spine.

As there are so many ways we can complicate our exercise regime, sometimes it’s great to just go back to basics.

Starting position

Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees, feet hip width apart with the soles of your feet flat on the mat. Place your arms out long with your palms on your side.

Exercise Execution

  1. Draw your belly button down towards your spine and wrap your abdominals around to activate your core.
  2. Start by tilting your head slightly so that you can feel your chin pulling slightly down towards your chest and imagine you are holding a golf ball under your chin and your head starts to lift off the map.
  3. Continue the lift as your shoulders rise up off of the mat and allow the palms of your hands to slide towards your knees. Go as far as you feel comfortable.
  4. Slowly articulate down the opposite way, one vertebrae at a time as your middle back, upper back and then head rest back down. Repeat!


Exhale as you crunch up, inhale as you relax down.


Start out with 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions and increase if desired.


  1. Hold at the top of the crunch for 2-3 secs to isolate the contraction in the abdominals and ad 2-3 pulses at the top of the movement.
  2. Place your hands on opposite thighs and one side at a time turn it into an oblique crunch twisting to the opposite knee when you crunch up. Repeat on the other side.



KX Tip

To add KX intensity to the exercise, start the exercise with both knees in a table top position (right angles in the hip and knees). As you crunch up, extend one / both legs out straight to 45 degrees to work the lower abdominals in the process. Hold at the top and pulse for 3- 5 seconds before returning back to the starting position. Also, extra resistance can be added to the exercise by adding weight (medicine ball, weight etc.) to the upper body by holding it on your chest.

Aaron Smith is the CEO & Founder – KX Group. KX is a boutique fitness company with 17 studios across Melbourne and Sydney, offering dynamic pilates, barre and yoga. KX also run international retreats to Vanuatu and Bali.

Model: Pia Muehlenbeck


By Aaron Smith

Pilates Expert

Aaron Smith is The Carousel’s resident pilates expert and Founder/Owner of Australia’s first high performance pilates group, KX Pilates. In 2009 he returned from living abroad with a vision to bring a new way of fitness training to Australia. “I loved the style and concept behind dynamic pilates, but I could see some areas for improvement, where I could add my own touch. I returned to Australia in 2009 and opened my first studio, in Melbourne, in 2010″, Smith said. Smith is now an award winning entrepreneur and franchisor, with 17 KX studios across Melbourne and Sydney, re-branding as the ‘KX Group’ and expanding the service offer to include; high performance pilates, assisted yoga, barre and international fitness retreats. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science (double major in exercise physiology/pharmacology), trained in advanced STOTT reformer pilates and is a KX Pilates Master Trainer.



The Carousel