The Top 3 Reasons To Never Do Crunches
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t use abdominal crunches in my workouts. My answer is simple: they’re totally and completely a waste of time and energy.
Now, I don’t arrive at this conclusion lightly. After all, my job is to motivate people to do things, rather than not do things. But there are three very important things that have caused me to feel this way:
1 – They’re Not Effective
Researchers at the University of Virginia conducted a study, and found that it takes approximately 250,000 crunches to burn just 1lb of fat. That’s equivalent to doing 100 crunches a day, every day, for 7 straight years. Not only is this not really feasible, it is frequently counter-productive. Most people get discouraged after a few weeks of seeing little to no result.
2 – They’re Not Safe
The repeated flexion from doing crunches and sit-ups—even with proper form—can increase your risk of developing back problems and aggravate any existing injuries of the spine. And most times, despite all best efforts and intentions, that form isn’t 100% correct, amplifying this risk even more. Ironically, by recommending crunches and sit-ups, trainers facilitate the very injury they’re trying to prevent through core strengthening.
3 – They’re Not Productive
There are far better methods to burning fat and strengthening your core. As an isolation exercise, crunches and sit-ups, by definition, aren’t effective. This is because the body’s muscular system doesn’t isolate, it integrates. To get strong results, you need to do full body movements in multiple planes of motion to engage your abs along with your gluteals, hips and lower back, all of which help make up your core. Examples of effective core exercises include wood chops, band rotations and push-ups, to name a few. And remember, no matter which exercise you’re doing, your core should always be engaged to help strengthen and protect your back.
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