Toe Touch Crunches: 5 Easy Exercises for Abs

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Two guys performing toe-touch crunch ab exercises

Toe touch crunch is a form of ab workout. When paired with resistance exercises like squats, it can improve flexibility in the lower body and core.

Toe touch crunch exercise or simply toe touches are ab workouts that target the obliques and rectus abdominis. Touching your toes boosts flexibility in the calves, lower back, and hamstrings. Read on to discover how to do a toe touch, toe-touch crunch variations, and much more.

What is the toe touch crunch?

Studies [1]National Library of Medicine: Effects of core strength training on core stability have proven the beneficial impact of core training exercises on the strength and stability of the core muscles. The toe-touch crunch is one such core exercise that works on obliques and rectus abdominis. It acts as a double crunch or a progression of the traditional crunch that adds difficulty and allows lower abs to be more engaged while performing the crunch. 

Toe-touch exercises can be employed as a warm-up before the core workout or done solely to boost core strength and tone the abs. You can even add variations to your toe-touch workout as per your fitness level and goals.

How to do toe touch crunches: step-by-step guide

To do a toe touch crunch, follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Keep your hands by your side with palms facing down.
  2. Now lift your legs slowly and extend them towards the ceiling with a slight bend at the knees.
  3. Keeping your lower back pressed against the floor, slowly lift your torso and try to touch your toes with your hands. Make sure to exhale during the movement.
  4. Now while keeping your legs extended towards the ceiling, slowly lower your torso and arms to the starting position. Make sure to inhale during the movement. 
  5. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.

5 easy toe-touch crunch exercises

Make your toe-touch ab workout more challenging and exciting by opting for these toe-touch crunch variations:

1. Single-leg toe-touch crunch

Target Muscles: Abs, Transverse Abdominis

Equipment: Exercise Mat

How to do

  • Lie on your back with one foot on the ground and the other leg extended in front of you.
  • Keep your arms outstretched overhead.
  • Lift your arms and extended leg simultaneously and reach the toe with your arms. Squeeze your abs at this point.
  • Switch sides.
single leg toe touch crunch
Source: YouTube

2. Crossover toe touch crunch/alternating toe touches

Target Muscles: Abs, hip flexors, quads and obliques

Equipment: Exercise mat

How to do

  • Lie down on your back with your legs and your arms extended in front of you.
  • Now lift your shoulders off the ground and raise your left arm and right leg up. Your right arm should touch your left toe. 
  • Lower your arm and leg down and perform the movement with alternating sides.
crossover toe touch crunch
Source: YouTube

3. T-cross sit-up

Target Muscles: rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques

Equipment: Exercise mat

How to do

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended straight to the sides and legs straight. 
  • Slowly sit up and lift your left leg while bringing your right hand to touch the left toes. 
  • Hold for a second and squeeze your abs.
  • Now return down to the ground and repeat on the alternating side.
t cross sit up
Source: YouTube

4. Medicine ball toe touch

Target Muscles: lower legs, glutes, arms

Equipment: medicine ball, exercise mat

How to do

  • Lie down on your back with your medicine ball, knees bent, and feet on the ground.
  • Stretch your legs up to the ceiling and then press your heels to the ceiling.
  • Take the medicine ball, press it up towards your toes, and inhale.
  • Exhale and draw your abs in and then curl up while trying to reach the ball up towards your toes.
  • Slowly lower down and keep repeating.
medicine ball toe touch
Source: YouTube

5. Toe touch bicycle crunch

Target Muscles: Rectus abdominis, upper abs

Equipment: Exercise mat

How to do

  • Lie on your back with legs stretched out and arms overhead.
  • Bring your right elbow and touch your left knee. 
  • Raise the left foot and reach out to the toe with your right arm.
  • Repeat the movement with the left elbow and right knee.
toe touch bicycle crunch
Source: YouTube

Benefits of doing toe-touch crunches

Studies [2]Research Gate: Effect of resistance training on flexibility in young adult men and women suggest that combining lower-body resistance training exercises like squats with stretching exercises like toe touches engenders more flexibility than stretching alone. Read below to understand the benefits of toe touch crunches in detail. 

1. Builds a strong core

A strong core reduces the risk of lower back injuries and reduces back pain. If you are into sports, having a stronger core boosts your athletic performance and improves coordination and balance.

2. Tones the abs

Toe touch abs workouts involving crunches strengthen the abdominal muscles and tone them. No matter whether you opt for single-leg toe crunch or crossover toe touch crunch, it will help you get those much-coveted abs. 

3. Strengthens lower back 

The muscles involved in a toe touch crunch also include lower back muscles. The raised legs in this crunch workout activate your lower back and make it stronger. 

4. Boosts hip mobility

Toe touch crunch exercise also improves hip mobility and movement. This will help you enhance your lower body movement. 

5. Increases flexibility

Toe touch crunches promote flexibility in hamstrings, calves, lower back, ankles, and glutes. This will help you perform tasks such as running, walking, etc. with much ease.

6. Improves balance and posture

Raising your arms, legs, and torso at the same time improves balance and coordination too. A strong core achieved through toe touch crunches will also help you maintain good posture.

Tips to perform safe & effective toe touch crunches

If you are performing the toe touch crunch exercise for the first time, follow these tips to do it safely and effectively:

  1. As a beginner, start with lifting one leg only. Once you are comfortable doing a single-leg toe touch crunch, you can perform it with both your legs.
  2. If you struggle with flexibility, reach your knees instead of toes while keeping your legs perpendicular to the ground. 
  3. Start slow and do not speed through while performing the toe touch crunch. This will break your form.
  4. If you cannot hold your feet in the air, try using the wall as your support. Lie down in front of a wall and fix your heels on it before starting the workout.
  5. If the movement is shaky, use a medicine ball or keep a yoga block between your thighs.
  6. To prevent neck or shoulder pain during the movement, keep looking straight and make sure to breathe slowly.
  7. If you feel too much pressure on your neck or back, do not do this exercise before consulting a doctor. 


You can take up toe touch crunches as a warm-up exercise and boost your workout performance. It makes the regular crunch more challenging by acting as a double crunch. The toe-touch crunch is a beneficial core exercise that strengthens and tones your abs and lower back. It also boosts flexibility in the hamstrings and calves.


We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about toe touch crunches to answer some of your doubts and questions regarding this exercise.

What muscles do toe touch crunches target?

The toe touch crunch exercise targets the abdominal muscles, primarily the rectus abdominis, which is the muscle that makes up your six-pack.

Does the toe touch crunch work on abs?

Absolutely. The toe touches are a great ab strengthening and toning exercise.

Do toe touch crunches burn belly fat?

Yes, one can effectively burn belly fat by complementing toe touch crunches with other cardio exercises.

What are toe touches good for?

Toe touch exercises work on the core and boost flexibility in the lower back, calves, and hamstrings. It also improves coordination, hip mobility, balance, and posture.

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