The Elite Physique

Smith Machine Crunch

How To Do The Smith Machine Crunch

smith machine abs

The Smith Machine crunch is a great exercise that doesn’t get a lot of recognition.  Let’s face it, getting a nice set of 6-pack abs takes work.  But not just mindless repetitive crunch work.  You need to train them correctly.  Everyone wants abs, but few are really willing to put in the time and dedication a nice set of abs require.  While your genetics and diet play a huge role in your abs, or lack of abs, your ab training plays a role as well.  Let’s discuss the trifecta (diet, cardio, and training) to building a jaw-dropping midsection.

Abs Respond to Nutrition

We aren’t going to spend a lot of time on diet.  It should be understood that a quality diet helps to keep body fat levels in check.  Without proper nutrition, your abs aren’t going to show regardless of how many crunches you do.  You can do 100 ab crunches every day, but unless your body fat is in a decent range, they aren’t going to show.  A lean body and low body fat can display etched abs while fat hides your abs.  When you are lean, your abs have nothing to hide behind.

Adopt a high-protein diet rich in non-starchy veggies.  Keep those complex carbs and sugar limited if you are serious about getting your abs to show.  Work on dieting down to get to 14% body fat or less and those abs will break through and show.

Cardio is a Key Factor

Cardio is helpful for fat loss.  It should be combined with a clean diet for best fat-loss effects.  Don’t overdo the cardio.  You want to balance it with your weight training.  Typically, 3-4 days of cardio for 20 minutes a session works well for most people.  If you have more weight to lose, then 4-6 days of cardio for 30 minutes.  You might cycle long-distance slow cardio with HIIT to keep your body off-guard.  This form of shock-training keeps your body responsive.

You can choose to walk or jog outside or use the various forms of cardio equipment available at gyms.  You can change the treadmill pace to incline to change-up your cardio workout.  The elliptical is kind of a sprinting action and is helpful if you tend to carry weight in your lower body.  Just don’t get bogged down on one piece of cardio equipment.  Change it up often.

The Smith Machine Crunch

Now, let’s get to the meat of the article.  No pun intended.  Just like all your other muscle groups, your abs are skeletal muscle and respond to resistance training. So, the million-dollar question is, if you use resistance and progressive overload to build muscle, why do you spend 15 minutes on abs doing endless reps and sets?  While any form of ab training stimulates the abs, it’s far more effective to use resistance.

Of course, you can train abs without resistance.  However, if you want to build ab density, training them with resistance is a plus. Many people use a plate or ball to do a crunch from the floor.  While this works, you are really limited on the poundage you can use.  This is where the Smith Machine crunch comes in very handy and is an excellent exercise to add to your list.

Check it out below.  The photos from demonstrate the perfect Smith Machine crunch.

bodybuilding doing crunches on the smith

This How You Execute the Smith Machine Crunch

  • Place and center a flat bench within the Smith Machine apparatus.
  • Load the bar with a light poundage.
  • Lie face-up on the flat bench.
  • Line-up the bar so that it’s right over your abs and not over your chest or face.
  • Now, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bench.
  • While keeping the bar over your abs for your line of resistance, un-rack the bar.
  • Exhale and drive-up powerfully in an explosive crunch movement.
  • Inhale as you lower your upper body back down to the bench.

The Smith Machine crunch is one of the best ways to build thick abs in a short amount of time.  The positive explosive concentric contraction actives more muscle fibers in the abs and obliques.  Drive-up in an explosive fashion and lower slowly.  As your ab muscles fatigue, slow down your tempo to keep control.  You can get more bang-for-your-buck if you can hold that ab contraction for a second or two.

Smith Machine Crunch Reps and Sets

As discussed, the abs are just like your other muscle groups.  You don’t have to train them differently in regards to reps and sets.   The typical 3-4 sets in the 8-12 rep range works fine.  Train your abs hard with resistance.  Train with a variety of Weider Training Principles at times and go to muscular failure.  Start off slow and easy and apply progressive overload.  In addition, engage your mind-muscle connection with your abdominal training.

The Bottom Linered arrow pointing down

Keep in mind that to get that chiseled midsection, you have to include the trifecta of diet, cardio, and training.  Great abs are achieved with low body fat, which is a result of proper dieting.  Now, I can really help you on your ab training.  Scroll down and get my FREE Ab Training Tips and Secrets so you can start build an amazing set of abs…


Wait, Don't Leave Without This

Look you've tried everything for abs.  Now, try the system that works.  Click the link below for my FREE Ab Training Tips...

Click Here for Super Ab Tips

Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

Wait, Don't Leave Without This

My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

More About Karen

Related Articles