How to Do Butterfly Crunches Properly

Butterfly crunches are a popular core-centric bodyweight movement that targets the muscles in your core, hips and thighs.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back on the floor.
  • Put your hands behind your head then bend your knees and make the soles of your feet touch so that your legs form a diamond shape.
  • Tuck your chin in toward your chest then, exhaling, pull your ribcage toward your belly button.
  • Lift your chest a few inches off the floor.
  • With your back flat and your core tight, slowly lower your body down to the floor.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

To hit the hard-to-reach oblique muscles, be sure to exhale on every rep and press both your feet into the floor so your hips gain enough stability to support your body.

WHAT MUSCLES DO BUTTERFLY CRUNCHES WORK?

This exercise primarily works your abdominal muscles, but it also fires up your inner thighs and stretches your hip muscles.

BUTTERFLY CRUNCHES BENEFITS

FOCUS ON YOUR CORE RATHER THAN HIP FLEXORS

In most crunch variations, the motions are supported by the hip flexors. This is because your body relies more on flexion at your hips rather than your abs to pull up your torso.

Butterfly crunches, however, limit your hip flexors and instead rely on your core to lift the load of your entire body.

This way, they work your core more than most crunch variations.

WORK YOUR OBLIQUES

The obliques are often left out in the traditional crunch since it largely focuses on the rectus abdominis.

Butterfly crunches make sure to engage your oblique muscles so that your whole core is extensively worked.

STRETCH YOUR INNER THIGHS

While your inner thighs are not the main focus of the butterfly crunch, it stretches them due to the unique position of your legs.

By stretching them, it improves their flexibility and helps you gain more balance and stability.

OPEN YOUR HIPS

Butterfly crunches help offset tightness in your hips by making them stretch wider as you put the soles of your feet together.

ALTERNATIVES TO BUTTERFLY CRUNCHES

BUTTERFLY SIT-UP

The butterfly sit-up focuses on your core muscles, just like butterfly crunches.

How to do it:

  • Lie flat on your back and put your arms in an overhead position.
  • Make the soles of your feet touch so that your legs form a diamond.
  • Tuck your chin toward your upper chest then pull your sternum down toward your navel as you exhale.
  • Tighten your core then rise slowly.
  • As you rise, curl your body upward off the floor.
  • Continue crunching upward until to get to a sitting position.
  • Reach forward to touch your feet.
  • Reverse these steps slowly until you return to the starting position.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

Don’t forget to keep your feet pressed on the floor to give your hips stability throughout the exercise.

FROG CRUNCH

This movement is a crunch variation named after the motion a frog makes as it swims in water. It is one of the most challenging ab exercises you can do.

The frog crunch extensively works your core since it gets your whole body in motion and makes your core work extra hard to provide you with stability as your body moves.

It targets your transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, and rectus abdominis.

In addition to your core, the frog crunch also activates the muscles on your inner thighs.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your knees bent.
  • Open up your legs, allowing the knees to flail to the sides then put the soles of your feet together. Your legs should form a diamond shape.
  • Put your hands next to your ears and open up your elbows to your sides. Do not clasp your hands behind your head because this may strain your neck muscles as you perform this movement.
  • Crunch your body up, using your midsection to lift your legs and shoulders off the ground. Your elbows should come into contact with your knees.
  • Extend your legs as the soles of your feet stay pressed together.
  • Lower your upper body to the ground.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

Unlike most crunches, the frog crunch works your entire core. It also helps improve your balance and posture by building the muscles in your core.

To get the most out of this movement, try to maintain a neutral back, tuck your pelvis and breathe as you lower and extend your legs.

BUTTERFLY CRUNCHES MISTAKES TO AVOID

WRONG NECK PLACEMENT

If you feel your neck getting sore every time you finish doing butterfly crunches, chances are you place your neck at an inappropriate angle while you’re doing this exercise.

When you overextend or over-flex your neck, you might end up straining your neck muscles and the surrounding joints.

Over-flexion and overextension can be caused by lifting your chin too high up or lowering it too far down.

This can be prevented by tucking your chin slightly so that your neck is in a neutral position.

LIFTING YOUR LOWER BACK OFF THE FLOOR

This is another common mistake people often make while doing butterfly crunches.

Lifting your back off the floor prevents full engagement of your core and causes you to lose control of your pelvis.

FAILING TO BREATHE

Sometimes you may find it easier to hold your breath as you engage your core, but this won’t do you any good.

Breathing through ab exercises helps activate and power up the muscles in your core.

LOWERING YOUR BODY TOO QUICKLY

Lowering your body too quickly can cause you to engage muscles that are not meant to be part of the movement.

As a result, you won’t get to benefit for all the work you are putting in your workout.

IN CONCLUSION

The butterfly crunch is one of the most thorough core-exercises that strengthens your core and works your thighs and hips as well.

It has a wide range of benefits and can be modified to suit different difficulty levels.

You can choose to include it in your stretching routine or do it independently, but either way, you will certainly enjoy its numerous benefits.