500 Crunches a Day Before and After Results (Why I Won’t Do It Again)

Workout Plans | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 2 July 2024

On the left, Chilli takes a mirror selfie with his phone in his left hand, while his right hand holds up his white shirt, revealing a relatively undefined stomach. On the right is his after picture, after doing 500 crunches a day, showing some signs of a six-pack and a slightly leaner appearance.

Doing 500 crunches a day is no small feat and the before and after results seen below show some results but truth be told, it’s not what you’d expect and that’s partially why I won’t do it again.1

The thing is, all of these “exercise challenges” such as 500 crunches each day or 100 push ups a day and others fail to acknowledge the fact that it might be too much training. Not to mention, many of these are focused on one type of exercise that can build imbalances such as overworked, tightened, and shortened hip flexors.

Of course, these extreme challenges can be beneficial to jump start weight loss or muscle building, but there’s far more effective approaches such as to working out in general, and there’s far better exercises for abdominal muscles than crunches alone.

That being said, if you’re not convinced, we’ll first cover results and pictures from 500 people who did crunches per day, how many calories can be burned, and the optimal amount of crunches to perform each day before we cover crunch alternatives and offer some of our favorite workout routines that will improve your entire body.

What Results Can You Anticipate from Doing 500 Crunches Daily?

With the desire to obtain 6-packs that are worthy of a movie star, many individuals attempt doing 500 crunches daily to obtain chiseled rocks expecting to get the same—the reality is that this is not entirely not the case even though doing this high number of crunches will produce some sort of results.

Crunches are a form of an abdominal exercise that targets the rectus abdominis muscle which are the muscles that cover the abdominal section of the torso running from the pubic area to the cartilages of the 5th and 7th ribs.2

They are similar in class to sit ups in that sit ups involve lifting the entire body off the ground but crunches entail lifting only the shoulders and head; in addition to this, both involve placing the back on the floor with feet flat and knees bent and hands generally placed by the ears.

The goal of performing exercises is to tone the core, reduce belly fat and reduce the overall width of the midsection.

They are among the most popular go-to exercises in the fitness world for enthusiasts looking to get rock hard abs and when they are performed with proper form, they target the upper abdominal muscles, strengthen them and cause them to grow. Crunches also help improve overall posture and make it possible to raise and twist the torso effectively.

However, after performing this high number of crunches for a while, there is an increased risk of injury especially when done with incorrect form—those with sports hernia symptoms and external oblique pain strain or hernia should absolutely stay away from doing any crunches.

When someone executes 500 crunches daily, they are likely to gain some muscle but not as much as they may be seeking.

Participants of the 500 crunches daily challenge are likely to end up with muscle pain and little gains to show for it and studies show that doing only abdominal exercises is not sufficient to reduce belly fat. This is obviously one of the main factors that will cause abs to pop and be visible.3

In theory, combining the exercise crunches with a proper diet should offer great results, but that’s far from the truth if only crunches are done.

My Experience Doing 500 Crunches a Day for a Month

To be honest, my experience doing 500 crunches daily for a month are lackluster and not due to a lack of trying. I did them mid-day for 28 days and although I did find myself improving in the movement and having a better engagement of the core, I saw little to no improvement in my abs.

Furthermore, I began to develop minor neck pain even though I never laced my fingers behind my head and kept my hands near the side or temple of my head. Luckily though, I didn’t experience any hip flexor pain or anything of the like.

It’s worth noting that I was also working out on a mass building program during this time, but it was very low volume in comparison to my normal routine so in my humble opinion, I had plenty of recovery resources even while eating maintenance calories (i.e. not enough to lose or gain weight).

But check out others experience below since everyone’s body and journey are different.

500 Crunches a Day Before and After: Results & Pictures

Doing 500 crunches can produce results for those that are consistent in doing them and most importantly incorporating proper nutrition to allow for an effective calorie deficit that would lead to loss of fat. Here are some before and after shots of individuals engaged in this intensive daily regiment.

Cici Do

Cici Do who is featured on the first before and after shot results embarked on a 7 day regimen that involved doing 500 crunches daily. She did not have crunches as the sole exercise but rather mixed them with a HIIT body workout (high intensity interval training) which included shoulder presses, chest presses and triceps extensions with light weights.

On the left is a before picture of Cici where she's wearing a maroon top and a black skirt that shows her pudgy stomach and on the right is an after photo from doing 500 crunches each day and her stomach is slightly flatter and she's wearing a black shirt and purple shorts.

Although her overall sentiment is that doing 500 crunches a day will not make you lose much weight, her before-and-after photos show a noticeable difference in her stomach, flatter and more toned. Source: Cici Do on Youtube4

The results in the above shot are after 1 week of exercising. In the first week, she did not follow an ideal nutrition plan and did not see any results but in the subsequent week, she ensured that she combined the workout with healthier eating to ensure loss of fat.

She felt that she did see positive results as evidenced from the shots losing about a pound but the overall sentiment is that she did not lose much weight.

Cici also claimed that doing this many crunches hurt her neck complaining of both head and neck pains. She also complained of stomach pains and stated It took approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the crunches in between rests.

Eric Liaoo

Eric Liaoo featured on the second before and after shots had an injury and could not do any workouts except working out the core. He went into the challenge with the notion that he wouldn’t get any more lean or grow significant core muscle.

During the 1st week, he did 5 sets of 100 crunches and did only the basic crunch and didn’t add any other variations.

On the left Eric is shirtless in a bathroom and you can slightly see his six-pack, but on the right photo after doing crunches everyday he looks just a little leaner and his abs have just a little more definition but it may be because he's flexing on the after photo.

Notice how Eric’s before-and-after photos show no significant difference in his body after doing 500 crunches for 30 days. Source: Ericliaoo on Youtube5

He eventually got bored of doing crunches every day and decided to add variety into his workouts by doing hollow rocks for 5 sets of 100 reps while taking a lot of breaks. He did not alter his diet, aiming for a reduced calorie intake. In the 3rd week, he incorporated leg raises, heels to heaven and toe touches.

After completing the 30 days, he saw no big difference in the mid-section.

Chilli Lucas

Chilli Lucas, featured on the final shots, decided that basic crunches was the way forward to get a 6 pack which he really wanted and imposed a challenge on himself to do 300 crunches every day for 30 days. He was already physically active, doing push ups and regularly going to the gym.

He decided he wanted to focus on his abs by doing crunches.

Initially, they were difficult to do while using a towel on the floor which was hard on his back—he switched to a pillow to prevent injury. This actually made the crunches harder to do due to the increased range of motion.

On the left Chilli is holding up his shirt and showing his flat, yet undefined stomach and in the after picture on the right his abs are starting to become visible.

It’s noticeable how there’s not much significant changes in his belly fat, however his commitment to the routine has clearly made a visible difference in his abdominal muscle definition as seen in the after-picture. Source: Chilli Lucas – 智利仔 on Youtube1

On the 7th day, he was feeling hungry throughout the day craving salty and fatty foods like BBQ, hot dogs and potato chips etc. but persevered and continued following his usual diet. Knowing how to distract yourself from hunger is definitely a good idea when embarking on this type of challenge.

After the 10th day, he noticed that his abs were more pronounced. When he was halfway through the month, he reduced his sets from 10 sets of 30 to 6 sets of 50 taking less time to finish the exercise and he had better form.

On the 18th day, he wasn’t feeling hungry any more, however he started to have pain in his right knee and made adjustments to his technique.

As he felt stronger, he began to include side crunches to his training. As he ended the challenge, he was able to do 100 reps for 3 sets. During the entire 30 days, he didn’t do any other exercises or changes to his diet which would have made it easier to shed off some more pounds.

He felt that he didn’t lose any fat or belly fat for that matter but just grew his abdominal muscles—this can clearly seen from his after shots.

A Summary of Mine & Others Experiences Doing 500 Crunches Per Day

These 4 experiences cataloged above give an insight of what doing 500 crunches daily feels like, their potential combination with other exercises, the challenges experienced when doing these crunches and any changes in the diet made to help realize results and why they, or myself won’t do it again.

From the experiences outlined, it can be surmised that even though doing 500 crunches gave some results which can also be true for other exercises, they don’t give an overwhelming result that is often expected, considering the high number of crunches. The before and after shots clearly show that for the amount of effort put in, the changes on the abdominal muscles were not radical; moreover they lost little to no weight and belly fat.

What’s more, they ended up having pain as a consequence of doing this many crunches in the knees, possibly due to tightened hip flexors, neck and abdominal plains—typical reactions of doing a high number of crunches. The experiences clearly show why many will likely not resort to doing 500 crunches daily to grow abs or to effectively lose weight.

Can You Do 500 Crunches Everyday? Should You Do 500 Crunches Each Day?

There is no limit on how many crunches can be done every day, so it is physically possible to do 500 crunches every day, however doing this many crunches every day can pose some problems for someone. Doing 500 crunches daily shouldn’t be the goal for anyone aiming to tone their abdominal section.

When someone does crunches, they flex their spines as a result and this type of movement is typically not suitable for older people or those with neck and back injuries. Even for younger people, this additional strain can raise the possibility of an injury. Doing crunches without proper form will result in hips getting restricted and will also get tight.

The repetitive nature of bending the spine may lead to back pain and the lower back will have an increased risk of developing pain as well which in severe cases could lead to bulging discs in the spine.6

Excessive strain and pressure on the neck as a result of bad form will mean that the muscles of the core are not being activated sufficiently and will not develop as desired. Doing 500 crunches daily may become monotonous and no longer enjoyable which causes someone to lose interest and not have the motivation to soldier on—it is imperative to engage the mind and stimulate it when doing any exercise to achieve progress as one of the assertions among the weight loss affirmations.

Since this exercise tends to not work the whole body and will likely tire someone to not do any other exercises, it may be better to seek other alternative exercises that are much more effective, efficient and give the body a more balanced workout.

How Many Crunches Daily Will Get You Abs? Will 500 Crunches Everyday Get You Abs?

Doing 500 crunches a day may be something not physically ideal and not efficient—besides too much of anything is never a good thing, crunches included. On average, doing 30-40 crunches a day would be sufficient to grow the abs—this can be divided over 3 sets which would be about 10-12 reps per set.

It should be noted that this number is dependent on a number of criteria including height, age, sex and characteristics unique to an individual. For example, someone with fairly well developed and strong abdominal muscles will need to do a higher number. Men have stronger abdominal muscles and would also need to perform more crunches to properly stimulate them.

Lastly, individuals who are taller than 6 ft. tall would likely require to do fewer crunches as opposed to someone shorter that will need to do more crunches. Doing crunches is also not enough in many of the cases, it is equally important to maintain proper nutrition with the crunch regimen to ensure that there is effective fat burning.

Without a body fat percentage ranging between 9%-14%, abs will not be visible—body fat percentage is the total mass of fat present in the body divided by body mass and multiplied by 100 to result in a percentage.7

Doing 500 crunches every day might result in abs and visible outcomes, but it’s excessive and unnecessary. Doing this aforementioned number per day is plenty to get someone up and running in their journey to getting a 6 pack.

How Many Crunches a Day Should You Do to Lose Weight? Can Doing 500 Crunches a Day Help You Lose Belly Fat?

There is no magic number as to how many crunches someone can do a day to lose weight—doing the recommended 30-40 crunches a day will get individual results and they may perhaps lose some weight due to the increased exercise regimen that will lead to calories burning and subsequent weight loss but this remains true for many exercises. Depending solely on crunches to lose weight will simply not cut it.

Many who choose to do crunches have the impression that they want to target the fat around the midsection and hence turn to this exercise for this purpose in what is known as spot reduction.

Spot reduction is an allusion that fat stored in parts of the body can be isolated for reduction by exercise in that area where they are located.8 This is a complete myth that has permeated through the fitness world with fitness professionals misleading enthusiasts by statements such as “burning fat” of the belly by doing crunches.

The reality is that this burning sensation has nothing to do with searing the fat off the belly, rather the production of lactic acid by the muscles during resistance strengthening via anaerobic respiration. Lactic acid is produced by the body for energy when there are low levels of oxygen during glucose breakdown—in a process known as anaerobic respiration, when performing intensive exercises.9

Doing 500 crunches daily won’t necessarily lead to the belly fat loss that many people expect—they will help burn some fat but cannot be relied on to target belly fat solely and must be part of an overall exercise regimen and intuitive eating weight loss plan.

How Many Calories Do 500 Crunches Burn?

Doing 500 crunches is an intense exercise and will burn calories—someone should expect to burn roughly 6 calories every minute and considering that they could be spread over 10 sets taking approximately 20 minutes to complete—this will amount to an average of 120 calories burned from doing 500 crunches.

Crunch Alternatives To Lose Weight & Build a Six Pack

Instead of doing crunches, there are better, safer and more efficient alternatives that can help someone grow a six pack. Crunches are especially not ideal for those dealing with back pain due to the repetitive flexing of the spine, individuals with back pain should resort to the McGill 3 as this would help alleviate back pain and put them back to the path of rehabilitation. These exercises are:

  • The curl-up
  • Side plank
  • Bird-dog

The following are the crunch alternatives to lose weight and grow a 6 pack—they include hanging knee raises, reaching sit ups and v-ups and are briefly outlined below.

Rope crunch—using a rope on a cable machine whilst kneeling facing away from it, hold the rope close to your face, go all the way down for a big contraction and up for a big stretch and flex spine and not just hips.

Hanging knee raise— while hanging on a bar, bring knees up to the chest by curling and arching them forward and not just straight up.

V-up—lay with back on the floor and keep arms and legs as straight as possible, touch all the way down and raise the torso and touch the weight up to the feet every time.

Machine crunch—using a crunch machine, and a full range of motion should be used with controlled movement.

Modified candlestick—lay with back flat on the bench with arms holding the bench below the head, and raise the legs by bending the knees on the way up and straightening them on the way down and keep the torso and entire leg rigid.

Slant board situp—lay on a decline bench with a weight in hand and then curl up and forward until perpendicular to the ground.

Reaching situp—with back on the ground and feet secured, reach all the way forward in front.

Hanging straight leg raise—while hanging on a bar, and legs don’t have to be completely straight, kick the legs high and control on the way down. These exercises are an excellent way on ways to eliminate of upper belly fat.

So you’ve gotten the idea that 500 crunches may be a bit extreme and are now equipped with alternatives, but don’t neglect the rest of your body either. The following are some beginner to intermediate workout programs that can help anyone lose weight, and/or build muscle.

By now you should understand that doing 500 crunches a day is possible but not an ideal way to grow abs because it’s an extreme way to achieve next to zero results along with the potential for back, head and neck pains so don’t cheat yourself and start a proper workout routine instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Safe To Do 1000 Crunches a Day?

Doing 1000 crunches a day is not recommended and not safe. Not only is it counterproductive, it places the lower back and generally the back in a position prone to injury. In addition, if done incorrectly, it will lead to hip intrusion that can end up tightening the hips.

Is 500 Crunches Each Day Too Much? Is It Safe?

Doing 500 crunches daily is definitely an overkill and not necessary to achieve results. Like doing 1000 crunches a day, doing this many crunches introduces the risk for back injuries and they are also not safe for individuals who have pre-existing back pain.


References

1I did 300 crunches everyday… for 30 days.” YouTube, 8 May 2020. Accessed 1 April 2023. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gljPzKvUz_M>

2Wikipedia. (2022, September 9). Crunch (exercise). Retrieved 2022, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crunch_(exercise)>

3Sachin S Vispute, J. D. (2011, September). The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. Retrieved 2022, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21804427/>

4I did 500 crunches a day | before and after results.” YouTube, 19 May 2022. Accessed 1 April 2023. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVax-ZbK91A>

5I did 500 crunches every day for 30 days?! *RESULTS*.” YouTube, 27 July 2019. Accessed 1 April 2023. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji0R8XXgJyQ>

6Contreras Bret, S. B. (2011, August). To Crunch or Not to Crunch: An Evidence-Based Examination of Spinal Flexion Exercises, Their Potential Risks, and Their Applicability to Program Design. Retrieved 2022, from <https://www.academia.edu/21972919/To_Crunch_or_Not_to_Crunch_An_Evidence_Based_Examination_of_Spinal_Flexion_Exercises_Their_Potential_Risks_and_Their_Applicability_to_Program_Design>

7Wikipedia. (2022, September 5). Body fat percentage. Retrieved 2022, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_fat_percentage>

8Wikipedia. (2022, October 14). Spot reduction. Retrieved 2022, from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spot_reduction>

9MedlinePlus. (2022). Lactic acid test. Retrieved 2022, from <https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003507.htm>

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.