I did 50 chair crunches for a week — here’s what happened to my core
HomeHome > Blog > I did 50 chair crunches for a week — here’s what happened to my core

I did 50 chair crunches for a week — here’s what happened to my core

Sep 15, 2023

Are chair crunches the secret to a stronger core?

Here at Tom’s Guide, we love nothing more than an ab workout challenge — from dead bugs every day, to trying advanced windshield wipers, we’ve tried it all. Next up on my list was seated crunches, a seated ab exercise you can do between meetings, right from your office chair. I added it to my daily routine every single day for a week. Read on to find out what happened.

Seated ab workouts are low-impact workouts that can be done from a chair, targeting your abdominal and core muscles. Unlike ab workouts that involve lying on your back on an exercise mat, seated ab workouts are accessible to those who can’t get down on the floor, have limited space, or simply want a workout that they can do sat from their office chair during a meeting (just remember to mute your mic!) Seated crunches, also known as chair crunches, are an excellent way to target your core if you’re working out from your chair.

As a reminder, what works for me might not be right for you and your body. While seated ab exercises are suitable for most people, if you have suffered an injury, or have mobility issues, you might want to check with a doctor or personal trainer before adding them to your routine. Always use a stable chair, without wheels, when doing seated exercises.

Let’s start with how to do a chair crunch with perfect form:

The key here is to move with control, so don’t be tempted to rush through your reps. Your abs should be engaged throughout, and the movement should be coming from your abdominal muscles, not your upper and lower body. Your back should also be straight throughout the workout. If you notice your lower back is arching, you should limit your range of motion, or start by sitting upright on your chair and just lifting your legs together a few inches from the floor.

I’m fairly new to seated workouts — in fact, it was only a week ago that I tried my first seated ab workout and was surprised at how hard my core worked. From the seated position, I was able to isolate my abs and I could really feel my deep core muscles — the transverse abdominal muscles — working hard as I moved through the crunches.

I tried to add a few reps every day, and a few days in I was able to hold my hands in front of my chest, rather than gripping the chair. I found my legs got a workout too, despite moving from my core.

Most days I completed all 50 reps in one go, but on other days I’d do five sets of 10 reps, and fit them in throughout the day for a core burn. By the final few days, I grabbed one of the best adjustable dumbbells and held it with both hands to really up the ante.

Like a lot of the best ab exercises and Pilates moves, the key with chair crunches is to move slowly, and with control. In fact, the slower you move the better with this exercise. I often find with these week-long exercise challenges that I have a tendency to rush through the movement to get it over and done with, but I was mindful of not arching my back during this exercise.

I actually found doing chair crunches more challenging than V-crunches on the exercise mat, perhaps because my core was working harder to stabilize my body which was a lot higher off the ground.

Now I’ve discovered the benefits of getting a quick ab workout in from my desk chair between meetings, there’s no going back. On some days, I added 50 oblique crunches and 50 bicycles to the end of this workout, and I could really feel my core had worked hard.

Of course, there was no visible change to my mid-section after a week of crunches — it takes a lot longer to build muscle, plus, how visible your abs are depends on your overall body fat percentage, not the ab workouts you do. Stress, diet, sleep, cardio levels, and hormones can all affect your body fat percentage — here’s how to calculate your body fat percentage, and why it matters.

My verdict after a week of chair crunches? These helped me work my core throughout the day, and I’ll definitely be keeping them in my routine in the future. A strong core helps you sit with better posture, and protects your spine from injury, so focusing on your abs while you’re sitting at your desk can help strengthen the muscles in your midsection. Give it a go!

Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.

Forget Russian twists — this 3-move standing ab workout builds chiseled oblique muscles

I did 50 half wipers every day for a week — here’s what happened to my abs

Google Pixel 8 — 7 biggest rumored upgrades

By Alex WawroAugust 27, 2023

By Jennifer RizzutoAugust 27, 2023

By John VelascoAugust 27, 2023

By John VelascoAugust 26, 2023

By Sam HopesAugust 26, 2023

By Lucy GornallAugust 26, 2023

By Jane McGuireAugust 25, 2023

By Sam HopesAugust 25, 2023

By John VelascoAugust 25, 2023

By Jane McGuireAugust 24, 2023

By Helen McCueAugust 23, 2023