Common ab exercises like situps, crunches and leg raises are great foundational moves. But after performing them consistently for a while, they can start to become stale.
That’s why I like to switch things up with unique movements and equipment. I find that it not only keeps my clients motivated, but also helps them continue to see results and avoid plateaus.
Using resistance bands is one of my favorite ways to spice things up. Resistance bands are inexpensive, portable and easy to use. Plus, they they add a challenge to abdominal exercises that can help build muscle and tone your core. One of my favorite core workouts using resistance bands is the standing banded knee crunch.
What does the standing banded knee crunch do for the body?
The standing banded knee crunch works the abs in a similar way to a situp or crunch without hurting or bothering your back. Because you’re standing up, you have more control over your movements and comfort level throughout.
The standing banded knee tuck also requires more movement, making it a nice warmup for a cardio routine. The motion of bringing your knee to your elbow with a resistance band wrapped around the ankles also improves quad strength and challenges your balance, which works your core even more.
The common mistakes people make when doing the standing banded knee crunch
If you aren’t used to using resistance bands, it can take a little getting used. I’ve had clients come to me with questions about where and how to wrap the resistance band, but once they get the hang of it, they love it!
When performing the standing banded knee tuck, it can sometimes be difficult to master how far to “crunch” with your elbows and how high to lift your knees.
In order to avoid common mistakes, keep these tips in mind:
- Wrap the band around your calves just above your ankles. Make sure to not allow the band to ride up.
- When crunching, bring your elbow down as you lift your knee in the air, but don’t bring your elbow below your hip.
- Move slowly and focus on squeezing the abs and using your quads to raise your knee while crunching.
How to do a modified standing banded knee crunch
If the resistance band is too overwhelming, try practicing the move without it first. The standing knee crunch without the resistance band is still a great ab workout and is worth mastering before adding any other elements to the move.
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head. Bend your torso, bringing your right elbow down toward your left knee as you lift it into the air. Return to the starting position before alternating sides.
How to perform the standing banded knee crunch correctly
Ready to perform the standing knee crunch with the resistance band? Follow these steps:
- Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Wrap the resistance band just above your ankles.
- Bend your elbows and place your hands behind your head.
- Bend your left knee, bringing your leg up into the air. Use your abs to pull the knee up.
- Bring your right elbow across the body and down toward your left knee, bending at the torso until the two body parts reach toward each other.
- Return to the starting position and repeat using your right knee and left elbow.
4 exercises that will help you perform the standing banded knee crunch
Working on your core can be challenging, so if this move feels too intense, these other exercises can help you build up the strength required to perform the standing banded knee crunch correctly.
Lie on the floor with your elbows bent and your hands behind your head. Lift your legs off the ground and begin moving them in a cycling motion, bringing your right knee to your left elbow and then your left knee to your right elbow. Continue this motion, straightening one leg as you bend the other.
Banded bicycle abs
In the same starting position as the previous move, wrap a band around both feet. Perform the same motions as a standard bicycle crunch with the challenge of added resistance. Make sure that the resistance band stays tight around your feet the entire time.
Side-to-side step with band
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Wrap the resistance band around your ankles and place your hands on your hips or in front of you in prayer position. Step your right foot out to the side and follow with your left. Take five steps to the right side before moving back to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Single knee to chest
Lie on the floor with your arms out to your sides. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Wrap your hands over your right shin and bring that knee in toward your chest while keeping your left resting leg bent. Hold for 10 seconds before switching sides.