Why do most people do crunches or sit ups to help reduce their waistline or tone up their abs. They do this because that’s what they see everyone else in the gym doing.
Next time you are in the gym look at someone who is doing crunches or sit ups, (don’t worry their will almost definitely be someone) and see if they have a midsection that you would like to emulate? There is a reason why many people see no results or progress even though they relentlessly persevere doing multiple abs exercises every time they are in the gym.
Reasons why not to waste your time on crunches or sit ups:
- They will not make you look any better
99% of people that are unhappy with their midsection have one problem, that there is a layer of fat that is covering their abdominal muscles. All doing sit ups or crunches is going to do is increase the strength, endurance and very slightly the size of the rectus abdominal muscles. None of these things will get rid of that layer of fat. The only thing that is going to get rid of that is controlling your diet and exercising so that you are burning more calories per day than you are eating. Get into that daily calorie deficit and you will eventually lose that fat. There is nothing you can do to influence or determine where your body will lose fat from. Doing abs exercises will not burn fat from the abs, doing leg exercises wont burn fat from the legs etc. It is totally genetic where your store and loose body fat from first.
- Crunches will likely lead to bad posture
When performing a sit up or crunch, most people throw the body forward in an uncontrolled manner, or they hook their feet under a support or get someone to hold their feet still. Both of these techniques lead to the hip flexor muscle, the iliopsoas, (which attaches at the lumbar section of the spine and the top of the femur) doing most of the work. This excessive loading on the hip flexor leads to them tightening up which can cause the pelvis to tilt forward. Think of the spine as a stack of plates and your pelvis is the bottom plate. If that bottom plate is out of place then the whole stack is unstable and the other plates are at a much higher risk of slipping out of plate. The same is true for your spine, if your spine is unstable, this can lead to a variety of problems which can sometimes be extremely serious. Your spinal column is one of the most important systems in your body, and its extremely important to take care of it.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article which is going to go over alternative core exercises and exercises that will help prevent and in many cases cure back pain. In the mean time, drop the crunches and situps and give your hip flexors a rest.