There are a lot of exercises that can make your muscles pop, and we can all agree that crunches are among the toughest. Now, butterfly crunches represent the exact opposite of what the name implies – they put quite a lot of strain on the abdominal muscles, and they’re considered as advanced ab exercises.
Butterfly crunch is performed while laying down (same as any type of crunch), but with a small difference. Your legs are supposed to be on the surface, and your feet should touch each other. This way, your legs will create an obstacle, straining your muscles to overcome the pressure.
All You Need To Know About Butterfly Crunches
In this article, we’ll talk about the main benefits and advantages of butterfly crunches, the two popular types of butterfly crunches, but we’ll also speak about how to perform them.
Most people get discouraged when the results don’t add up to their calculations – crunches will get you where you want to be, but you’ll have to be patient. The situation is even more serious when it comes to butterfly crunches, mainly because they’re harder to do when compared to regular crunches.
This is one of the reasons why we are going to break down the whole process is several easy steps, explaining each one along the way.
How To Do Butterfly Crunches – Easy Method
Step 1 – Lie on a comfortable surface
A training mattress should do the trick, but you should definitely avoid your bed mattress. Beds often come with a squishy mat that will negate most of the effects. Once you’ve found a surface where you intend to do butterfly crunches, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2 – Bring your feet next to each other and put your hands above your head
The goal is to actually connect your feet so that they’re touching each other, but that might be somewhat of a problem for some people. The reason why you need to do this is quite simple – you will put a considerable amount of pressure on your lower body, and you will have a weaker support base.
It’s quite easy to imagine why regular crunches are simple to execute. With your feet firmly on the ground, your support base is quite strong. Imagine it this way – with regular crunches, the actual work is delegated to abdominal muscles, your feet, and the momentum. With butterfly crunches, your abs will do most of the work.
Step 3 – Attain the butterfly shape
Once your feet are close to each other and your hands are right above your head, you can safely say that you’re in the butterfly shape. Now, this shape won’t strain your muscles enough (flexible people won’t feel anything, actually), but it’s important that you learn how to return to it once you’ve performed a crunch.
Consistency matters, and if you break out of this shape, you won’t be able to reap full benefits of this exercise. The same goes for any type of crunch.
Step 4 – Perform a single crunch
It’s important that you get to know how a butterfly crunch feels like. If you saw someone on TV (or the Internet) do a complete rep without as much as breaking a sweat, you may think that they’re easy, but they’re not.
Your first butterfly crunch should be executed really, really slowly. The slower you do it, the better. Your abs will struggle at first because this is not a natural body position, but you’ll get used to it eventually.
Step 5 – Return to the original position & Repeat
Once you’ve crunched up, return to the original position. This should also be performed slowly for maximum benefits. Once you’ve done all this, you should repeat this exercise 9 more times. A regular set of 10 butterfly crunches shouldn’t be too much, even for complete beginners.
How To Do Butterfly Crunches – Advanced Method
The steps 1-3 are basically the same, with a slight modification. You should crunch up differently. Your hands still need to be straight above your head, but, instead of performing a regular crunch with your feet connected, you will extend your hands, stretching as far as you can towards your feet.
This exercise will activate your lower back, and it’s significantly harder when compared to the easy method.
Alternative Way To Perform A Butterfly Crunch – Beginner’s Exercises
If you are having trouble performing butterfly crunches (even with the easy method), there’s an alternative way. You should be warned, though – the benefits of this type of exercise are significantly lower.
Why should you consider this method?
People who’re out of shape, obese people, and pretty much everyone who’s having a hard time performing this kind of exercise can begin with this method and later transition to the easy method (or even advanced, at some point).
Even though the benefits aren’t exactly the same, they’re still apparent and real. It’s always better to go easy than give up.
How to perform the alternative method?
All the steps are pretty much the same, and the only difference is the strain you put on your abs. When you’re performing a butterfly crunch, don’t go all the way. Simply raise your back, maintain that position for as long as it feels comfortable, and return to the starting position.
You could combine all kinds of planking exercises with this method if you’re familiar with them. For instance, you can practice getting in the butterfly shape and transition to a regular plank for a minute, after which you’ll return to the butterfly shape.
The Main Benefits of Butterfly Crunches
Truth be told, there are plenty of benefits you can take advantage of if you’re doing this exercise correctly. We’ll name just the ones that are the most important:
1. Butterfly crunches can be done anywhere, anytime
Even though you need a comfortable surface, you don’t need any equipment whatsoever. These crunches can be done indoors or outdoors – it’s entirely up to you.
2. This exercise can tune up your abdominal muscles
If your abs are out of shape, butterfly crunches can fix that in no time. This exercise activates the majority of your abdominal muscles, and you can expect serious results very soon.
3. Great as a choice exercise
If you have a certain pattern of exercises you follow, adding butterfly crunches to the list can be both fun and rewarding.
4. One of the best transitioning exercises
Since butterfly crunches are done in the “butterfly shape”, you can easily transition to various other exercises, such as planking, sit-ups, leg lifts, and much more.
5. Butterfly crunches will improve your posture
This exercise can only be done with your back straight. A few reps a day will improve your posture significantly.
6. “Crunching” at its finest
This exercise will “literally” crunch your abs. Butterfly crunches are one of the fastest ways to gain abs, but they’re also one of the most tiresome ones.
Now that you know how to do it, all that remains is that you muster up the will to get started. Butterfly crunches are relatively easy to execute. They’re one of the most rewarding exercises ever invented. You don’t need any gear to do them, and you can do them anywhere. Good luck, and have fun crunching.