Six-Pack Tip: Faster Crunches for Ripped Abs.

Tall, dark and delicious! Can I get an amen?!

I’m about to rock your world with some new research. Sit down for this one.

You’ve probably heard that, when it comes to the speed at which you perform strength training exercises, slower is better. The idea behind slow training seems logical. By going slow, you remove all the momentum from your movements – and so all the tension is directly on your muscles. It seems to make sense, but new research is proving otherwise.

It turns out that super slow training is significantly less effective than traditional training. One study showed slow training strength gains of 15% compared to gains of 39% for traditional training.

But wait, there’s more.

Additional research has been done on the variable of speed in abdominal exercises – and crunches, in particular. Researchers divided participants into 4 groups, and had those groups perform crunches at different speeds (1 crunch per 4 seconds, 1 crunch per 2 seconds, 1 crunch per 1.5 seconds, 1 crunch per 1 second). Turns out, the participants in the fastest group – 1 crunch per 1 second – had the highest amount of muscle activation.

In actuality, the results shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Compare the legs of a marathon runner to the legs of a sprinter. Sprinters, who engage in fast bursts of rapid movement, have very muscular legs.

Of course, this isn’t a green light to rush through all your exercises. But it does mean that increasing the speed at which you crunch can be a good thing. But increase the speed slowly; progressively build up to a faster pace over time. And remember that form shouldn’t be sacrificed for speed!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. In regards to the part about the 4 groups doing crunches at various speeds, I’m curious if this was based on quantity of crunches completed or a time period. If it was time period based, obviously the faster crunching people would have better results because they would have done way more.

    • I thought about the same thing – but the research was done only on muscle activation. So, by doing the faster crunches, there was a greater amount of muscle activation overall at any given moment. Does that make sense?

  2. It might have to do with just changing one’s routine. I started doing slower returns or negatives and have been happy with the results. But every so often I completely change what I’m doing for a while and can get past slumps. Maybe the people in that study had been doing crunches at normal speed, and the change made the difference.

  3. Davey, you don’t cite the actual research you’re discussing. Could you link to the study, please?

  4. faster… slower…. whose to say which works best? no doubt there will be other “scientific studies” that either debunk this one study you site here or adding several important caveats… i see guys at the gym that race through their workouts… often sacrificing good form… others seem to move at a snails pace.. like anything in life, do what works best for you… i know my habits and cheats in the gym, working too fast compromises my form and i end up relying on momentum… working too slowly i lose focus… YMMV….

    ~ cheers…

  5. Is there any research that recommends not doing any excercises and getting your six-pack anyway?

    • Yes. It’s called “beer-ergomics”. You go to the store and decide which “6-pack” you want. :>)

  6. Very thoughtful point, Josh.

    If you crunch those abs faster in the same time period as everybody else, you end up doing MORE crunches. – so the experiment is really weird.

    But – yes – the faster you work, the less oxygen your muscles receive and the more lactic-acid build-up there is.

  7. Lakefxsnow says:

    Hi Davey. I’d be interested in reading the study. Can you tell me where it’s been published?

  8. interesting facts…
    amen to the picture but he’s straight, sadly ๐Ÿ™

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