To do a standard crunch, you lie on your back and lift your upper body off the mat toward your bent knees. While crunches sometimes get a bad rap, Giordano and Stokes both say that done right, crunches are a totally fine and useful exercise to include in your overall routine. If you are experiencing pain when performing reverse crunches, do not ignore it. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The reverse crunch is a simple core exercise that can strengthen your abdominals. This action requires stabilization from your pecs at your chest, the latissimus dorsi of your back, the rear deltoids at the shoulders and the triceps at the back of the upper arms. Crunches target the abdominal muscles but do not adequately address the other core muscles, such as the obliques and particularly the muscles in the lower back (lumbar erectors). January 21, 2019 by Tamara Pridgett. Do reverse crunches place excess strain on your back too? A common recommendation is to add ankle weights to increase the amount of weight you have to lift during the exercise; however, this increase in weight may trigger lower back pain during the exercise. When your hip flexors are too tight, they pull on your lower spine, which can cause lower back pain; plus, poorly performed crunches can also put strain on the neck. Toward that end, here are some exercises to do and to avoid when you have lower back pain. Follow Cathe for all her most recent news and photos! While it’s true that these are your “six pack” muscles, they are not the most important muscles for true core strength. For a comprehensive reverse crunch guide, follow this link. Slowing the tempo of reverse crunches has other benefits too. Failure to address pain during this exercise can lead to further, more serious, back injures and finding a suitable substitute exercise is not difficult. Your hips should rise up off the mat while your abs remain tight. That said, lots and lots of crunches can be bad for the lumbar spine – especially if you already have lower back pain. Reverse crunches are somewhat safer for your back than standard crunches if you do them with a slow tempo and good form. If you do enough reverse crunches, you’ll eventually reach a point where a reverse crunch feels too easy. I witnessed numerous dancers who had very “strong abs” and poor core support. Lower-back pain is a common complaint and one that should not be aggravated by exercise. Reverse crunch. That’s important if you sit much of the day and develop anterior pelvic tilt from long periods spent perched in a chair. Crunches are an extremely effective compound-muscle ab exercise. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do crunches at all but suggests you shouldn’t do hundreds of them every time you train either. Start with smaller weights and progress to heavier weights as you test how the lower back feels with using ankle weights. Performing the reverse crunches in the right way improves your abdominals in addition to a broad range of other benefits. To protect your lower back, push the small of your back into the floor before contracting the abdominals. Often crunches are performed whilst sucking in, or holding your breath, causing your stomach to pooch or bulge out and your organs to bear down on your pelvic floor. Ask most people what exercises they do to strengthen their abdominal muscles and they’ll likely mention crunches, and for some people, crunches might be the only exercise they do when training their abs. With your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Lift your legs upward while keeping your legs straight by bending at the hips. And you do not want to go there, girl. Most women won’t have ab definition unless they get to a body fat percentage of 14 to 20%. Traditional Crunches put unnecessary pressure on your spine. ... that will actually keep you building muscle after the initial gains have ended—and minimize injury and pain to your back. Why: Engage your lower abdomen and obliques with this move. The Bottom Line. What’s the Best Rep Speed for Building Abdominal Definition? The reverse crunches are an engaging activity. Place your hands under your butt, just below your spine, with your palms flat on the floor. So even if you're doing a hundred crunches … Over time, repeated spinal flexion may place enough stress on the back and spine to herniate a disc. This video describes ways in which traditional crunches and sit ups can be bad for your back and contribute to low back pain. Learning proper technique as well as the modifications will ensure you perform the reverse crunch safely and will allow you to make a better decision on its inclusion to your abdominal workout program. Strong abdominal muscles support the lower back, so a variety of exercises are used to enhance the core. The easiest modification to the reverse crunch exercise is to limit the range of motion you use during the movement. The reverse crunch, by strengthening the external obliques will help you fight anterior pelvic tilt. While it’s true that these are your “six pack” muscles, they are not the most important muscles for true core strength. Individuals who already have lower back issues, such as degenerating discs, will also experience pain performing this exercise because the motion causes minor spinal compression as the spine must pivot to help lift the legs. If It Doesn't Challenge You It Doesn't Change You. “Why The Reverse Crunch Is Your Shortcut to Six-Pack Abs”, com. Joshua Bailey has been writing articles since 2006 with work appearing at Bodybuilding.com and 2athletes.com. The Reverse Plank works your lower back, obliques, glutes and hamstrings, posterior muscles important for athletic performance. The Difference Between Situps and Crunches; Why a Fat Wallet Causes a Bad Back; Why Shoveling Snow Is Killing Your Back; Why Cheating Is Bad: The #1 Reason; The Bad-Ass Back … Sit-ups and crunches have been shown to cause more back injuries than other more holistic exercises. bought it at a second hand store for like a buck and it's amazing! If all you care about is how your stomach looks, by all means, keep crunching away. Reverse Crunches - Lay on your back with your knees together and your legs bent to 90 degrees, feet firm on the floorPlace your palms face down on the floor for support. A general rule of thumb is to not lift your legs upward or allow them to descend downward to the point of pain. Reverse-Crunch. Individuals with larger bottoms will have excess torque on their lower back as their legs get closer to the floor. Sit-ups and crunches have been shown to cause more back injuries than other more holistic exercises. Let crunches be bygones. A traditional crunch or sit-up can cause compression to the discs in your spine, causing them to bulge and press on nerves. Copyright © 2020 Leaf Group Ltd., all rights reserved. It’s called a reverse crunch and it targets your abs too. Required fields are marked *. Crunches really zone your surface ab muscles. Make the Reverse Crunch More Effective. Are Abdominal Crunches on a Stability Ball More Effective? Keep repeating using slow, controlled movements. How: Lie on your back with your hands tucked under your bum and your knees bent. They are well executed lying on your back and tightening your muscles at the abdomen. Crunch Alternative #3-- Bridges As I wrote in "How to Get a Flat Stomach," when you exercise your abs, you also need to maintain your low back strength. Over time, a stronger core can also improve your posture and reduce your risk of back injuries later in life. Partial crunches good, sit-ups bad. Performing the reverse crunches in the right way improves your abdominals in addition to a broad range of other benefits. Ab Training: Can the Quest to Get Defined Abdominals Lead to Back Pain? Back Pain While Doing Crunches | Livestrong.com While the reverse crunch effectively trains your abdominals, it can be a painful exercise to perform for some individuals. Also, striving for six-pack abs might not be best for your health either. Bring your legs up … The biggest problem with pain in the lower back from the reverse crunch exercise stems from excess curvature of the spine. Crunches are one of the worst abs exercises. Who wouldn’t want those benefits? // Leaf Group Lifestyle, Workouts to Get Rid of Cellulite on the Back of Your Thighs, American Council on Exercise: Supine Reverse Crunch. Sit on the floor and lean back so that your back and head are flat on the floor. com. Crunches are debilitating, the planks also are bad and I've got arthritis in my hands and wrists so that action really kills them. If you lower your body fat percentage too low to get your ab muscles to “pop,” you risk developing other problems, like infertility, irregular periods, and bone loss. Alternatives like the plank pose can protect your spine. Crunch fatigue is real, for a few reasons. Alternatives like the plank pose can protect your … 5. To protect your lower back, push the small of your back into the floor before contracting the abdominals. Lie on a mat with your knees bent at 90 degrees, arms out to your sides, and feet flat on the floor. However, reverse crunches alone won’t give you six-pack abs. It may be easier on your back than traditional crunches and sit-ups because your spine doesn’t flex as much. Aim for better health and strength and be proud of the body you’ve achieved! For instance, if you begin to feel pain when your legs are 2 inches from the floor, only lower them to 1 foot from the floor. This movement activates the two large rectus abdominis muscles that give your midsection definition. Hold at the top for a second and reverse the movement as you slowly bring your feet back down to the mat. Extend your legs away from your body but keep your butt together. Learn 10 flat stomach alternatives to crunches. Both situps and crunches are helpful for strengthening and developing core muscle. So make sure that you brace your abs, and keep your back in the neutral position – and even with a slight arch in your low back – as you do dumbbell rows, deadlifts, squats, and Ro… If all you care about is how your stomach looks, by all means, keep crunching away. Because it involves lying in your back and repeatedly bending and extending at the spine, the crunch motion is a big culprit when it comes to placing excessive strain directly on the portion of the low back that has the most nerves and is most susceptible to this wear and fatigue. If you are experiencing pain when performing reverse crunches, do not ignore it. You may be rewarded with stronger abs and more muscle definition. I have a man made replacement vertebra and a rod in my lower back. Why might doing too many crunches harm your back? Once your legs are perpendicular to the floor, lower your legs until your heels are about 1 inch from the floor. You can also bend your knees slightly to reduce the amount of resistance you are moving during the lift. “Crunches Are Bad For Your Back — Here Are 10 Ab Exercises to Do Instead”, com. However, you’ll still build abdominal strength, even if you don’t achieve a visible six-pack. Strive for strength rather than a certain aesthetics. The Reverse Plank works your lower back, obliques, glutes and hamstrings, posterior muscles important for athletic performance. 1.6K Shares View On One Page ADVERTISEMENT () Start Slideshow . You can make them more challenging by doing the exercise on an incline bench. Your email address will not be published. Repeat lifting and lowering your legs. The biggest problem with pain in the lower back from the reverse crunch exercise stems from excess curvature of the spine. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It doesn’t matter if you’re squatting, deadlifting, straight-leg deadlifting, rowing, or even doing triceps kickbacks, you must STOP doing these exercises with a rounded lower back.That’s a one-way ticket to a herniated disc. According to Stuart McGill, Ph.D., an expert and a professor of spinal biomechanics, crunches place up to 749 pounds of compressive force on your spine each time you crunch. Learn how your comment data is processed. For a comprehensive reverse crunch guide, follow this link. The stronger the muscles in our lower abdomen, the more protected we are. The reverse crunch is when you lie flat on your back, tighten your abs, lift your hips … When done correctly, they target your upper abdominal, lower abdominal, oblique, and lower back muscles, and have less risk of injury than traditional sit ups. Crunches really zone your surface ab muscles. Shop Cathe Fitness Equipment & Accessories. When you do a reverse crunch, the movement comes from your thoracic spine rather than your lumbar spine, as with a standard crunch. Failure to address pain during this exercise can lead to further, more serious, back injures and finding a suitable substitute exercise is not difficult. If you do reverse crunches with good form and a slower tempo, this crunch variation places less stress on the lumbar spine than a traditional crunch. When you land on the mat, your knees should still be at a 90-degree angle and your knees should be over your hips. Individuals who already have lower back issues, such as degenerating discs, will also experience pain performing this exercise because the motion causes minor spinal compression as the spine must pivot to help lift the legs. Sit on the floor and lean back so that your back and head are flat on the floor. Roll your spine up as you bring your knees toward your chest and control the movement as you return to the starting position. How to Perform a Reverse Crunch Without Hurting the Lower Back. Anterior pelvic tilt is where your pelvic tilts forward too much and you develop an inward curvature of your spine. On the other hand, some individuals may find this exercise too easy and may not experience back pain at all. 0 Shares Share … The way the reverse crunch is performed plays a large role in keeping the exercise pain free; however, some people will require modifications to the exercise so that pain does not occur. Individuals with larger bottoms will have excess torque on their lower back as their legs get closer to the floor. They can be bad for your lower back and have little impact on your lower abs. Reverse Crunches are a much better use of your time than traditional Crunches. Once your legs are perpendicular to the floor, lower your legs until your heels are about 1 inch from the floor. The biggest problem with pain in the lower back from the reverse crunch exercise stems from excess curvature of the spine. The easiest modification to the reverse crunch exercise is to limit the range of motion you use during the movement. Individuals who alrea… Sit Ups are similar to crunches as another worst abs exercise. The teres major, just under your armpit, also activates. Doing reverse crunches on a bench at a 60-degree incline will force your rectus abdominis muscles to work harder and that can lead to greater strength and hypertrophy gains. This is due to the hips rotating downward to allow the legs to reach the floor. Don’t forget that exercise alone won’t give you a six-pack tummy. The reverse crunch is a core exercise that targets the muscles of the lower abdomen. Abdominal Exercises: Are You Doing Too Many Reps? They restrict the excursion of the diaphragm and weaken the pelvic floor. The reverse crunch is designed to do that too. How Much Weight Do You Need to Lose to Get Health Benefits? Roll your spine up as you bring your knees toward your chest and control the movement as you return to the starting position. Sit-ups and crunches have been shown to cause more back injuries than other more holistic exercises. When you move too quickly and let your knees drop, you use momentum and taking tension off of your abdominal muscles. That's one rep. "The reverse crunch is … To perform a reverse crunch, lie flat on your back with your hands beneath your hips. Don’t worry! The reverse crunches are an engaging activity. Alternatives like the plank pose can protect your spine. Let crunches be bygones. Are You Working Your Core Muscles Properly? He also holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. However, there’s another crunch variation that works your abdominal muscles differently. One: Crunches don't encourage your abdominal muscles to work through their full range of motion. Alternatives like the plank pose can protect your … I LOVE my ab rollout (mine is called ab slide?) Crunches still place some stress and compression on the spinal column, particularly if attempting to ‘flatten’ the low back throughout the movement. When you crunch, you flex your spine repeatedly. Crunches Are Bad For Your Back — Here Are 10 Ab Exercises to Do Instead. There are also potential benefits to doing reverse crunches in moderation. Strength training will make you stronger and healthier, regardless of whether you have striations on your abs and rock a midriff top. They are well executed lying on your back and tightening your muscles at the abdomen. This will cause you to feel a painful stretch in your lower back as your legs reach the perpendicular position. Everyone wants a stronger core, as that will help head off future back injuries. When you reverse crunch in a controlled manner and slowly bring your knees down, you increase the tension in your rectus abdominis muscles and that can lead to greater strength and hypertrophy gains. The most important reason people do crunch is to strengthen and hypertrophy their abdominal muscles.