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There’s been a lot of debate concerning whether the inclusion of crunches in your exercise workout routine is good or bad for you. This reminds me of the classic ying vs yang theory; good vs evil scenario. Well, crunches have a long history in the workout forum; and as is the case with traditional techniques, they always have some bad mouthing to be done about their efficiency.
Well, so let’s take a more in depth look at crunches, or also known in a more savvy scientific name as lumber flexions. Hmm, so what are crunches? In my books, these are any exercises whose sole purpose is to strengthen the 29 core abdominal muscles found in your back, abdomen and pelvis.
The importance of these muscles is that they provide the main support to your spine that is vital for movement, support and balance. There’s been a lot of negative publicity especially propagated by doctors that doing crunches actually increases back pains and back related injuries.
Their argument is that frequently doing them shortens these 29 groups of muscles in your abdomen known collectively as the rectus abdominus, which consequently results in a round back posture. However, this is not entirely true, and it actually depends on the intensity of crunches you do and how you actually do them.
Do you know that a majority of us actually do crunches the wrong way? With upcoming modern technological innovations, the traditional floor crunch is becoming less popular and less effective in producing great muscle activity as compared to newer methods. So here is the ideal way of doing effective muscle crunches.
The first thing you have to do is lie on your back and preferably place your feet against a wall so that your knees and hips are at right angles to each other. Secondly, tighten the muscles of your abdomen and slowly raise your head and shoulders off the ground. Avoid placing your hands behind your head as this tends to strain your neck. Instead, cross your arms on your chest, then you can slowly begin to have a downward and upward motion as you perform your crunches. Crunches should also be accompanied with functional exercises like using a stability ball, or alternatively push-ups would be great.
Once you get the hang of crunches, the health benefits are enormous. You get hypertrophy of the abdominal muscles once enough subcutaneous fat has been depleted. This is famously as the six pack, which is seen as quite attractive especially for women when they spot a man with them. The health benefits range from increased fluid flow to the lumbar disc to also strengthening disc tissue and therefore increasing lumbar tolerance. Personally, I believe there’s no such thing as the ‘negative’ health effects of crunches. If they are done properly, they have numerous health benefits; and they are definitely recommendable in your daily workout for a healthier, bigger and stronger you. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say that I am and always will be, pro crunching.