Tuesday, November 23, 2010
To Crunch Or Not To Crunch That Is The Question
Most Americans want to have perfect abdominal muscles. Having a strong “core body” is the in thing. But what does that mean? Does that mean having a six-pack or does that mean having a flat stomach? You cannot have both. Those that have six-packs surely do not have flat stomachs. From the side they pouch out a bit. That is from having over developed rectus abdominis muscles.
The methods used to obtain perfect abdominal muscles have changed throughout the years. Full sit-ups were popular many years ago. Then they added an incline bench to make them more difficult. Next came the crunch. The crunch was suppose to lessen the damage your back received from doing full sit-ups.
Having a strong core includes a strong back. If you weaken your back while strengthening your abdominals you have not gained a strong core.
Muscles support the spine but it consists of a series of vertebrae and discs. Working out muscles is what makes them strong. Over using the discs in your back breaks them down and can damage them. You are told to lift from your legs not your back for a reason. Your back is vulnerable. It only has so many bends in it.
When people do crunches they generally figure the more the better so the discs in your back are getting a real beating when you are doing crunches. Your abdominals are not used in that manner in real life use or they should not be.
The best exercises for a healthy core body are those that use your abdominals to support your body like the plank, side plank and even push-ups. Those work all your core body muscles at one time, which is the best way to strengthen your core and also to get a flat stomach.
The answer to the question, to crunch or not to crunch is. If you have your heart set on a six-pack then crunch away but also be prepared to deal with the consequences. You most likely will hurt your back and not have a strong healthy core or a flat stomach.
Your fitness expert