Crunches=Waste of time.
If I had to make a list of the worst things that people do in the gym, it would look like this.
1. Talking on their cell phone while exercising. I will never quite understand this. Seriously, you can’t live without your phone for an hour?
2. Wearing sunglasses. Why?
3. Staring at the tv in between sets (AKA: tv jaw). Are you there to train, or watch tv? Hmmmm, maybe that’s why you still look exactly the same as you did three years ago.
4. Performing endless repetitions of crunches in an effort to get that six pack.
What if I told you that performing endless repetitions of crunches is probably one of the worst things you could be doing in the gym from a postural standpoint? What if I told you that I haven’t had a client of mine perform a crunch in over two years because I think they’re a waste of time? Blashemy you say?
The rectus abdominus (RA) originates at the pubic symphysis and inserts all the way up at the 5th-7th rib cartilage and sternum. What do you think happens when you sit all day at work, in front of the computer with a flexed spine and then go to the gym and perform a bunch of crunches? You end up pulling your chest towards your pelvis, further increasing your already kyphotic (rounded back) posture. Not only does this give the appearance of looking smaller (sternum is depressed), but it also leads to a whole host of other issues such as shoulder, neck, and mid-back problems due to the scapular winging involved (shoulder abduction).
It may surprise you to find out that the main “function” of the RA is not trunk flexion (think: crunch), but rather to PREVENT rotational forces and provide stability. Mike Boyle (boy he sure is smart) has done a great job of applying the work of physical therapists James Porterfield and Carl DeRosa and bringing to light the fact that the RA should be trained as ANTI-rotators, not flexors (crunch). Essentially, I would prefer that people learn to PREVENT unwanted motion and train their “core” with stability in mind. Various planks, Pallof Press, various chopsand would all be a great start and infinitely more conducive.
BONUS SECTION (a little case of tough love)
You want a flat stomach or six pack abs? I’ll give you the best movement, results guaranteed. It’s called the push-away method.
It’s simple really. When you feel “full”, push yourself away from the dinner table. Watch out for the dog underneath your chair!! Getting “abs” is about providing enough of a caloric deficit so that your body can burn off body fat, it’s NOT about how many crunches you can do everyday. You can perform crunches till you’re blue in the face, but it won’t matter if you have fat covering them. YOU CAN NOT OUT TRAIN A POOR DIET!!!!!!!
Exercise More (People need to MOVE more in general. Lift heavy things, it will be good for you).
Eat Less (junk)