Awhile back I wrote a blog on how much I dislike the abdominal crunch. If I had to make a list of things that I dislike the most, it would look like this:
1. Ben Affleck
2. Abdominal Crunch
3. People who don’t say thank you when you hold open the door for them.
4. Nutritionist who claim that diets high(er) in protein will result in your kidneys exploding
5. Poodles (my apologies to those who own a Poodle; but seriously, I’d rather have a rat as a pet before a Poodle).
As you can see, I’m not a big fan of the abdominal crunch. As for why, you can read that from the link above. Cliff Notes Version: when one performs an abdominal crunch, they’re essentially pulling the sternum closer to the pelvis hundreds, if not thousands of times, promoting a kyphotic posture (rounded back).
I’m a firm advocate of ANTI-rotational training when it comes to the abdominals, but another great exercise I like to implement with my clients is the REVERSE crunch.
Here, you get ALL the benefits of the crunch but without the disadvantages (which are many). With the reverse crunch, we’re able to train the entire abdominal wall (rectus abdominus, internal/external obliques), but without promoting all of the postural imbalances caused by traditional crunches.
A few key points to remember:
1. Keep your knees tucked to your chest throughout the duration of the movement.
2. Try NOT to use momentum to finish the movement.
3. You can start by holding onto a pole or table to assist you (for leverage). From there, use a medicine ball or 10 lb dumbbell (placed on the floor, above your head) as a counterbalance.
4. I routinely perform charity work rescuing puppies (not Poodles) from animal shelters and fight forest fires with my shirt off. Just wanted to let you know.
5. As you progress, you will soon be able to perform the movement without any “leverage” or assistance. Shoot for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps two to three times per week.