CORE … now that crunches are bad for you!

Recently, two healthcare professionals (a certified personal trainer and a physiotherapist) have said that it is accepted wisdom that sit-ups are a no-no as are leg-in-the-air ab moves. It seems that the harm (to your back, especially) outweighs the benefits. But I'm not really clear on what the newest scholarship says is okay or most effective. I know Cathe is science-based and up on the latest research and that her workouts adapt to the newest knowledge. I would love a new Core workout that takes up the newest science since I'm finding that I have to alter most of Cathe's abs/core sections to ensure safety/effectiveness (with new moves from my trainer and therapist). I like Amy Dixon's Give me 10: Core Cuts but I'd love a more up-to-date program that I don't have to second-guess.

Btw, apparently a go-to text is Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill.
 

nickisteen

Cathlete
Recently, two healthcare professionals (a certified personal trainer and a physiotherapist) have said that it is accepted wisdom that sit-ups are a no-no as are leg-in-the-air ab moves. It seems that the harm (to your back, especially) outweighs the benefits. But I'm not really clear on what the newest scholarship says is okay or most effective. I know Cathe is science-based and up on the latest research and that her workouts adapt to the newest knowledge. I would love a new Core workout that takes up the newest science since I'm finding that I have to alter most of Cathe's abs/core sections to ensure safety/effectiveness (with new moves from my trainer and therapist). I like Amy Dixon's Give me 10: Core Cuts but I'd love a more up-to-date program that I don't have to second-guess.

Btw, apparently a go-to text is Back Mechanic by Stuart McGill.
Thanks for sharing that. I have also read that crunches are not a good core exercise and should be avoided. I try to substitute as much as possible. I agree with you that Cathe is science based and I would love to see a new Cathe core workout.
 

1nortell

Cathlete
Personally, I don't adhere to that school of thought. I have severe back pain from scoliosis that has worsened with age and have to be extremely careful when executing any abdominal (or back) exercises. On the other hand maintaining strong abdominals (along with a strong back) by doing a wide variety of movements are crucial to managing the pain.

Having said that I've never experienced ill effects from the exercises which do include various "crunch" moves.

A few examples of "crunch" type moves I do include using a stability ball either doing lower crunches or upper or both at the same time; on the floor doing reverse or upper crunches at the same time or doing the same type of crunch holding a medicine ball between my knees and in my hands and so on. I do leg movements, too.
 
Last edited:

nickisteen

Cathlete
Personally, I don't adhere to that school of thought. I have severe back pain from scoliosis that has worsened with age. Maintaining strong abdominals (along with a strong back) doing a wide variety of movements are crucial to managing the pain. I've never experienced ill effects from the exercises which do include various "crunch" moves.

A few examples of "crunch" type moves I do include using a stability ball either doing lower crunches on the ball only or upper only or both at the same time; doing reverse and upper crunches together or individually holding a medicine ball between my knees and in my hands under my chin and so on. I do use leg moves, too.
My reference was to the traditional crunches. I have no issue with doing them on the stability ball or reverse crunches. Not as much pressure on your back or neck.
 

1nortell

Cathlete
I hear you. I do traditional crunches as well with no issues or pain. I don't know. I guess everyone's different.
 
To clarify, I can do crunches painlessly. I am simply reporting that health care professionals have said we shouldn't. It isn't good for your back, even if you aren't experiencing symptoms. The more your 'curl' your back, the more pressure you put on the discs. In the same way that you wouldn't roll your shoulders forward when using upper-body weights, you shouldn't 'roll' your lower or upper back when doing core work. You want to keep the natural lumbar curve as much as possible.

Doing things like lowering and raising your legs while lying on your back do a lot of harm to your lower back, so even if it feels fine, it is ultimately more harmful than good when it comes to your back.

You aren't supposed to twist, either. So 'Russian Twist' sit-ups and other moves that twist your back (apparently, even the stretch where you lie on your back and drop your knees to the side) are ultimately really bad for you even if they feel good at the time.

I notice that I have to substitute fewer moves in Cathe's newer abs bonuses on her videos. I suspect crunches are on their way out. Her old videos are full of crunches--not any more!
 

Our Newsletter

Get awesome content delivered straight to your inbox.

Top