Thanks, guys…this is EXACTLY why I run things by you; you guys are great!
1)We need to consider the function of the rectus abdominus (or the “six-pack” muscle or the “showy” muscle of the abdomen). Others are more “important” (in terms of core strength and stability), but the crunch is not the main exercise to work them. They actually are worked best with things like wood chops, twisting/circular movements, and would you believe, deads and squats?
Anyway…the Rectus functions to pull the hip and chest closer to each other, NOT to pivot or flex us at the hip. (Therefore the name “crunch”). To pivot at the hip does not work the Rectus, but the hip flexors.
2)Jay; thanks, bro!
With the action of the rectus as described, you must “crunch” the upper body (as noted above) to effectively work the rectus. You’re right in the sense that the head, arms and neck are kept “fairly” neutral, but the necessary spine flexion causes the upper body to “tuck” as you move it toward the hip.
The hip flexors are VERY strong muscles, that while important for power movements, running, squats, deads, etc., are not the muscles you work to build the rectus. You effectively take the rectus out of any movement that involves pivoting and/or flexing at the hip.(By the way…the West Side guys are “power” guys. They move some hellacious iron, baby! They actually “need” strong hip flexors for their power movements. Also…I don’t think these guys are “exactly” known for their “six-packs”!).
3)Brider; Thanks too, bro!
Yea…I’m talking about kneeling cable crunches. I don’t really have access to a crunch machine. (To tell the truth, I’ve never seen one to real life, just in books and mags! I guess my gym is behind!). So…what I posted was an attempt to maximize my kneeling movement by running it past you guys. Also…thanks for the “pearl” on maximizing that movement.
Doesn’t an “arch” at the top of the movement increase pre-stretch on the rectus, making it a MORE effective movement? I’m probably reading you wrong. I’m intrigued on increasing the effectiveness of the movement on my lower abs. Let us know.
Well…keep it coming guys! I never stop learning! Isn’t that what this should all be about?