Sunday, June 1, 2008

Say NO to crunches.

Why Crunches are bad.

According to research from Dr. Stuart McGill ( and his book Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance – crunches produce very high levels of intra-disc pressure and do not train the abdominals to produce spinal stability. Your abdominals are meant to be stabilizers not movers and the rectus abdominus (the 6 pack muscle) is not really a flexor anyway. It is actually there to provide increased "hoop tension" – read resistance to twisting motions.

In simple term our abs are not meant to provide flexion but to stabilize. How many real life activity can you think of which requires you to do a crunch. so doing lots of crunches lead to over use injury of the spine.

The better alternate.

The planks are far better exercise for Abs when compared to Crunches.

Front plank Side Plank

To perform a Plank get down on your elbows and toes and make your whole body tight squeeze your abs and glutes to make a straight line from your head to toe, try to hold this position for as long as possible. Do note that you need to do side plank on both right and left side.

Aim for holding each position for atleast 2 mins and then further progression can be made adding external load or lifting one limb in the air creating further imbalance.

Holding for 2 mins would be very tough if you are trying for first time, this looks like a simple exercise but its lot difficult then what it may seems.

Here are some video on how to do plank.

Front plank

Side Plank

Other factors.

  • If you want visible abs then get your body fat down. no matter how much ab work you do your abs would not be visible until the fat covering it is gone.
  • "Abs are made in kitchen". so keep what you put in your mouth at check.
  • You can not go wrong with heavy squats, Deadlift , over head lifting.
  • Overhead squat is the best strength training exercise that you can do for your core.
AddThis Social Bookmark Button