I usually refrain from hopping on to fitness trend bandwagons. But this one was too tempting to resist. So, I bit the bullet and decided to try doing 1000 crunches a day for a week. I found the challenge on Instagram and TikTok a while ago.
Having tried the ‘500 crunches a day challenge’ two years ago, and sick of looking at myself in the mirror with all those pandemic pounds, I figured why not. It was about time I took a chisel to that jelly belly anyway.
If you too have discovered this challenge on social media, and wondered what the results would look like, then you are at the right place. I am going to walk you through the 1000 crunches a day challenge and share my results and two cents at the end of this article. So stay tuned.
What Is the ‘1000 Crunches a Day Challenge’ All About?
As implied by the name, the idea is to perform 1000 crunches every day for one week. Even a rookie fitness buff can tell you that it’s not the ideal program from a fitness perspective. But my reasons for trying it were beyond getting ribbed abs.
- Accountability – I was procrastinating my workouts for a long time and I needed something that would keep me accountable. Think of it like a short term goal that would at least get me off the couch.
- HIIT – I hate cardio. But I knew that some form of cardio was the only way for me to drop some body weight fast. 1000 crunches is hell of a cardio exercise.
- Core strength – It was two years since I had worked on my core strength.
So, backed by my justifications to convince myself, I hopped on and started the challenge.
How I Went About Doing This Challenge
Restarting exercise after a two-year hiatus is never a cakewalk. It was impossible for me to start with 1000 crunches a day without risking an injury. So I decided to go slower and ramp it up.
On day 1, I hoped to pull off at least 400. But I managed to finish at just 50% of that. It was just 20% of the original number in the challenge.
Day 1 – Grunting and Crawling to 200
Day 1 was not fun! Not that I expected to it be any better. But I did some prep. Got up in the am, went for a 5 km walk/run combo. Came back, warmed up and then jumped into it.
- The first 100 reps went relatively smooth. I didn’t pause even once. By the time I was in my 80s, I could feel the burn on the belly. I barely scraped the 100th rep before I fell back in a puddle of sweat.
- For a while, I thought I’d stop. But 100 wasn’t even worth mentioning in my social media feed. So I bit down on the agony and continued after a 60-second break.
- By the time I touched 170, it was seriously-painful. Not just my ab muscles though. I could feel a minor discomfort in my lower back. So I pulled it on until 200 and then stopped for the day.
Day 2 – A Relatively Easier 400
Woke up on day-2 expecting to feel sore as hell. But it wasn’t too bad. Went on the usual 5km walk/run combo. More run this time. Came back, did some stretches and got on with it.
- Cruised to 180 this time with only two minor pauses.
- Took a 30 second breather after 180 and then continued until 400 in smaller sets of 40-50 reps.
- Decided to stop for the day at 400 because the lower back was screaming by then.
Day 3 – An Uphill Battle to 600
Woke up on day 3 determined to pull it off, this reminded me so much of the 1000 jumping jack challenge I did before. Went for the run/walk combo and did 6 kms instead of the usual 5. Got back, warmed up and started off.
- This time, I decided to take longer breaks as well as add variations.
- So I did 6 sets of 50 reps with 60 second breaks in between each set. This was in the am.
- I did four sets of 50 reps, this time on the medicine ball, in the evening. The set up was the same. 60 second rests in between the sets.
- I could feel the soreness in my abs, particularly the obliques now. It was just 500 reps, that too in small sets. But it was incredibly tough.
- Later in the evening, I felt a little better and decided to do two more sets, taking my tally for the day to 600.
600 reps were the highest I’d ever done. I now knew why this challenge is not for every average Joe.
Day 4 – So Close, yet So Far at 800
Woke up with severe DOMS in the abdomen. But I knew that I was very close to nailing it. So, I avoided the run and started straight with the crunches.
- Managed to do 10 sets of 50 reps with short breaks. This stretch of sets was pretty uneventful, thankfully.
- But I was physically drained by the time I hit my 8th set. So I decided to do the rest in the evening.
- Did 4 more sets on the medicine ball in the evening. It was excruciatingly tough. Not kidding. Medicine ball crunches are generally easier to do. But not this time. I was still at 700. 300 short of my goal.
- Before I hit the bed, I gnarled through two more sets taking my total to 800.
Day 5 – Finally Hit the Summit
On day 5, I was absolutely sure that I was going to drop dead. The soreness was unbelievable. I was guzzling on my post workout supplements. Amino acids in particular to help accelerate healing. Didn’t do the run. Instead, hit the sauna. After a little relaxation, got started with the sets. Here’s how I divided them.
- 6 sets of 50 in the am.
- 6 sets of 50 at noon
- 4 sets of medicine ball crunches in the evening
- 4 more sets of med ball crunches at bed time
This was tougher than any other challenge that I’ve tried in my life. It left me sore as hell and cursing myself secretly. But deep down, I was immensely pleased. I had stuck to the task without abandoning it midway. There were many moments when I felt that this was too tough. But I held on and it felt great in the end.
1000 Crunches a Day, Results and What I Learned
Along with getting off the couch and sticking to a workout routine after two years, I learnt quite a few new things with the ‘1000 crunches a day challenge’. Here are my results and my experience with the whole thing.
- I lost a grand total of 6 lbs. Most of it was undoubtedly water weight and I will regain it if I stop hitting my macros and my cardio. But it feels great to look at a slimmer you, water or not.
- Everything ached. When one talks about crunches, we assume that this is an ab isolation exercise. It’s not. Your entire core will be on fire. Your lower back, your upper thighs, yourt pelvic muscles, the oblique muscles. It’s the whole 9 yards.
Here’s a look at the finer points that I learnt.
You Core Is Worked Like Never Before
If you want to wake up your core after a long break from fitness, here’s your ticket. 1000 crunches will hit your core like never before. I primarily stuck to the conventional crunch, which made it monotonous in the end.
But there’s a way to make this more interesting. You can vary the angles and add crunch variations. Do some leg raises, bicycles, heels to the heaven and abdominal twists. While some of these may not count as crunches per se, I feel that variation is an underrated aspect of the whole challenge trend.
If you repeat the same exercises like clockwork, you are all the more likely to end up bored and hence, quit. Keep varying things and you’ll get better results and avoid boredom.
You Test Your Fitness Level
Boy! In all honesty, I thought that I am going to waltz my way to 1000 crunches by day two. But this was an eye opener. I struggled to even touch 500 on day two. This challenge really measures your fitness level.
If you have inflated ideas about your own fitness levels, give this a try. It’s a great equalizer. If you struggle too much with this challenge though, then you should try other exercises first like push-ups or planks first to prepare your body for this tough challenge
I Was Really Sore
If you generally tend to get DOMS, then this is going to be the worst 7-days of your life. You will be sore all over. You’ll be teary eyed every time you bend down to pick something off the floor, or turn, or even walk.
What I Learned – My Two Cents for Y’all
This is for all my fellow fitness buffs who like to try bandwagony things like the ‘1000 crunches a day challenge’.
It’s Very Hard to Do This Every Day
I almost wept by the time I hit day 5, because I was so sore. Your body needs to rest for at least 24-hours between abdominal workouts, or any workout. Doing this every day is a guaranteed way to overwork your ab muscles. Sooner than later, you are going to tear a muscle or a tendon and end up injured.
A short burst like 5-7 days is fine, mind you. But don’t even think of doing this regularly.
It Takes Almost Your Entire Daily Workout Schedule
You won’t have time or energy to do anything else in the day. Despite my best effort, I had to separate and divide the reps into smaller sets, and space them out throughout the day. It practically eats into your entire workout schedule and even more.
If you are working and looking to squeeze in 30-60 minutes a day for your workout, this isn’t going to work for you.
A better workout routine could be 100 crunches per day, 100 jumping jacks, and 100 push ups or you can do the one punch man workout routine, which consists of doing 100 push-ups 100 sit-ups and 100 squats, both of these workout routines require no equipment and will work all the muscle areas in your body.
Not for Beginners
Lastly, don’t even attempt this if you are a beginner. Most people dislike that term. But be honest to yourself here. I have lifted for 8-years consistently before I was forced to take a two year break. This was tough even for me despite all the talk about muscle memory.
I can imagine what someone who’s reasonably new to fitness will experience if they try this.
Closing Thoughts: Would I Recommend Doing 1000 Crunches a Day?
Absolutely not! No matter what your reasons are for trying out ‘1000 crunches a day’, I wont recommend it. There are easier and safer ways to get to those goals, no reason to go so hard on your self, don't think you will get 10 pack abs or something doing this challenge.
Even if you plan to do it for boasting rights on social media, go slow and ramp it up slowly. If you feel that something’s off, it probably is. Pause and re-evaluate. Listen to your body and be safe! Good luck.
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