Crunches for Lower Body Fat

Traditional crunches target and strengthen your abdominal muscles over time, but you'll see faster results with modified, advanced crunches that pack a punch when combined with fat-burning cardiovascular exercise. As you slim down your entire body, modified crunches can help to tone up your abdominal area bringing shape to the newly exposed muscles.

The Spot Reduction Myth

According to the American Council on Exercise, it's impossible to specifically target one area to reduce. To lose lower body fat, you'll need to create a calorie deficit through diet, exercise or a combination of both. Reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories per day can help you burn one pound of fat per week. Burning an additional 250 calories per day through exercise can add another half pound of fat to your weekly weight loss total. To stay safe, aim to lose no more than two pounds per week until you've reached your target weight.

Get Your Heart Pumping

One way to lose lower body fat is to get your heart pumping through cardiovascular exercise. Although crunches are traditionally a resistance exercise, you can easily integrate them into an aerobics routine. For example, perform as many crunches as you can during a 30-second interval, rest for 15 seconds and repeat three to 10 times. To shave fat from your lower body, look for cardio exercises that target the core muscles and lower body, like kickboxing, spinning class, vigorous vinyasa yoga or swimming.

Flip It and Reverse It

Modified crunches like the supine reverse crunch target your rectus abdominis -- the long muscle that runs along your abs -- and obliques -- the muscles that run along the side of your waist -- and are more effective than the traditional crunch. To perform a supine reverse crunch, lie on your back with your arms out to your sides in a "T" shape. Position your legs at a 90-degree angle with your bent knees stacked over your hips and ankles in line with your knees. Keeping your legs in the same shape, draw your knees toward your chest as your tailbone and lower back lift off the floor. Return your tailbone to the floor and repeat 10 to 15 repetitions.

Ride Your Bike

According to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, bicycle crunches scored at the top for the best rectus abdominis exercise and number two for the best oblique exercise. In comparison, the traditional crunch came in eleventh place. To perform bicycle crunches, lie on your back and position your legs at a 90-degree angle, feet off the floor. Align your knees over your hips and place your feet in line with your knees. Touch your fingertips lightly to the back of your neck and extend your elbows away from each other. In one fluid movement, lift your upper back off the floor, draw your left knee in toward your chest and curl your right elbow and entire torso to meet the left knee. Smoothly switch sides and perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.