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Resting with Crunches?

This week an email prompted me to write about one of my favorite and most frequently done exercises in my workouts – the CRUNCH!  The question asked was concerning when in your workouts do I like to do abs – in the beginning, after cardio, or in the middle?  I have found that I do two types of abs that work very well for me as well as many of the people I train - - I REST WITH CRUNCHES and WARMUP WITH CRUNCHES!

 Many will say that crunches are in no way a resting exercise, but I disagree.  If you think of the position you are in during a crunch – it really is just a little tougher than sleeping!  Also, if you do something tough like sprint a 1/2 mile and as your "rest" you catch your breath with a few crucnches...It can be used as a recovery exercise. A simple lift your head and shoulder blades off the floor and lie back on the floor and you have completed a crunch.

 I do the following exercises in between sets of pull-ups or bench press as my rest exercise AND I also get the body warmed up in my early morning workouts with a cycle of the following crunches:

 Regular Crunches – 25

Reverse Crunches – 25

Double Crunches – 25

Left Crunches – 25

Right Crunches – 25

Stretch and complete one minute of lower back exercises as pictured below and you have warmed up or rest in between big sets of pull-ups, intervals of running, or just about any other exercise you can think of…Give it a try!  It works great!

Below are some of the many abdominal exercises taken form every eBook sold on the Fitness ebook Store.   Sample abdominal exercises are the following:

Advanced Crunch - (Legs up) - Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches.  Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not lift legs if you have previous lower back injury – place feet on the floor - Regular Crunch)

regcrunch.jpg - 11262 Bytes 

Reverse Crunch - In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows.  Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground.  Only move your legs and butt.

(Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)

revcrunch.jpg - 11127 Bytes

Double Crunch – Add the regular and reverse crunch together in one motion…You will feel this one twice as fast…Hips and shoulders off the floor.

doublecrunch.JPG - 34239 Bytes

Right Elbow to Left Knee - Cross your left leg over your right leg.  Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee. 

relbowleftknee.JPG - 35872 Bytes

Left Elbow to Right Knee – Same as above just switch sides.  Cross your right leg over your leg.  Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee. 

*note – Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso.

Lower Back Exercise - Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head.  Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for specified number of repetitions.  Switch arms/legs and repeat.

See FREE Lower back Plan for pics of exercises and more!!

Thanks for the e-mails. Keep them coming at

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at



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Published Books / DVDs

Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
Maximum Fitness

The Special Operations Workout

The SWAT Workout - From Recruit to SWAT Team Member
The Combat Swimmer Stroke DVD

The Pre-Habit Workout DVD
Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
The FBI Special Agent Test Clinic DVD

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
NEW - Circuit Training 101 ebook
NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook


The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

Air Force PJ / CCT Workout

The Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The NEW Army PRT and Combat Readiness Test Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

The FBI Academy / PFT Prep Workout

The DEA Prep Workout

The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

Why a 52 Week Workout Cycle?

  Seal Multi Men's Multi-Vitamin Multi-Mineral

Become a TRX Trainer   

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