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Crunches Are Useless, Say Experts – Here’s What You Should Be Doing Instead

February 14, 2017

It appears that all those crunches you’ve done thus far in your life have been for nothing. New study says that doing sit-ups or crunches is simply burning – not working out.

“Ripping through a hundred sit-ups feels like it does something. In fact it does: it greatly increases your chance of a back injury,” say folks over at Big Think.

We also have health experts at Harvard University who agree and claim that sit-ups/crunches are useless for proper core training and smart core conditioning.

So what should we be doing instead? You are probably asking. It’s easy – planking.

Proper Alignment

The trick is that a functional training should involve exercises that actually mimic how your body normally moves, and planking does that. During a plank you retain proper, healthy alignment: “ears above shoulders above hips above ankles, with various muscular engagements driving the conditioning.”

Both sit-ups and crunches are just ruining your already poor postural habits (presumably).

“When doing a sit-up, the natural curve in your back is being flattened as you drive your chin forward and down, the same terrible pattern we do every time we stare at the phone in our hand,” writes Big Think. “The combination of these actions tugs on the muscles of the lower spine, resulting in spinal flexion. From there, chronic pain and injury is near.”

Outdated Exercise

Even the Navy is pointing out how outdated and useless both sit-ups and crunches are, and warn that these exercises can do more harm than good to your body. Here’s an excerpt from an editorial in the Navy Times:

“It’s well past time…to deep-six the sit-up, an outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries. Experts say there are better measures of core strength that have the added advantage of being less prone to cheating.”

They also praise the plank!

“The plank, for example, more accurately measures core strength and because it’s done by holding the body arrow straight while resting only on the toes and forearms it does not subject muscles to strain by motion.”

The science of exercising constantly evolves and we need to keep up by embracing new moves and letting go of the ones that do more damage than good. We can now say with confidence that you can safely remove the crunch from your workout routine.

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