T Nation

Crunches

i usually see everyone blasting and dissing crunches and i find it amazing how it is seen as just some useless ab exercise due to its low resistance. I wouldnt wanna be self praising but my abs are mad strong if any part at all (probably due to gymnastics, martial arts and breakdancing), even when i go in the gym everyone is amazed that i use more weight than the “bigger” guys.

Anyway back to the point, i believe the reason why crunches are seen as a basic exercise and sometimes useless is due to persons in the fitness industry not performing them correctly.

The way how i do them is keep the tension on throughout my whole set, instead of using the method of contracting only on the concentric. And at a quick tempo. I usually do it as a drop set (well really drop the reps, rather than the resistance if used). Most people that say that they do 500 crunches usually start crying by 20 of the first set then drop the 15 by the second. Another thing is that the rest time between sets are almost zero lol, like 5-10 secs.

Anyway tell me what yall think, i actually learnt it from my bro, who was into bodybuilding.

I think the diss on crunches is because why they are done moreso than how they are done. When an overfat person wants to know what ab routine, rep and set parameter to use, alternate ab exercises, to do because “I wanna six pack”, can’t comprehend that too much fat is why their abs are invisible.

The slam on using staple exercises to develop the strength of the core musculature from the “gotta crunch” crowd and the return slam from the heavy deadlifting and heavy squatting is enough for ab crowd…on any extreme, isn’t the truth nearly always somewhere in the middle?

I use two kind of exercises for my abs:

  • Weighted dips with straightened legs

  • A modified version of crunches: basically you position yourself on the edge of a bench, placing some weight on the other side so that there is something to balance the force that you’re going to apply with your body. Then you dip down with your back until your head touches the ground and your abdomen is almost completely stretched. Repeat, possibly weighed.

[quote]Daniel Hinds wrote:
i usually see everyone blasting and dissing crunches and i find it amazing how it is seen as just some useless ab exercise due to its low resistance. I wouldnt wanna be self praising but my abs are mad strong if any part at all (probably due to gymnastics, martial arts and breakdancing), even when i go in the gym everyone is amazed that i use more weight than the “bigger” guys.

Anyway back to the point, i believe the reason why crunches are seen as a basic exercise and sometimes useless is due to persons in the fitness industry not performing them correctly.

The way how i do them is keep the tension on throughout my whole set, instead of using the method of contracting only on the concentric. And at a quick tempo. I usually do it as a drop set (well really drop the reps, rather than the resistance if used). Most people that say that they do 500 crunches usually start crying by 20 of the first set then drop the 15 by the second. Another thing is that the rest time between sets are almost zero lol, like 5-10 secs.

Anyway tell me what yall think, i actually learnt it from my bro, who was into bodybuilding.[/quote]

Crunches are a fine exercise, but people perform too many of them. Neanderthal posture can come, not only from tight pecs, but also tight abs. Since crunches hit the rectus abdominis hard(external abs) i feel they should be performed sparingly. I think most athletes and bodybuilders would benefit more from hitting the internal abdominal muscles more often than the external ones.

The plank does a great job of strengthening the transverse abdominis(interal). Strengthening the tranverse abdominis will promote good posture and enable you to properly use your core on heavy compound exercises and therefore protect your lower back.

Paul Chek has some extremely detailed and very interesting articles on how to strengthen and then correctly use your core muscles(in particular the transverse abdominis).

So crunches…they’re ok. But if you properly understand how all the muscles around your midsection work, i think you’ll realise the internal muscles deserve far more attention than the rectus abdominis.

i like the replies and i do agree that the tranverse adominis needs to be worked more often as a core stabilizing factor and for injury prevention.

I got a great deal on one of these and it works my abs quite famously. It’s very adjustable as far as knee height, decline angle, leg length etc. I think somebody already said it, but the key to crunches is sliding your ribcage toward your pelvis and not swinging your shoulders toward your knees.

I don’t care what anybody else says, I do a few sets of these and throw in some occasional hanging trunk curls, pullovers and even some side pulldowns here and there. It’s free, only takes a few minutes and is effective.

Whenever these kinds of discussions come up I always end up asking myself “why not?” I mean some guys act like peppering their multi joint routine with a few strategically placed iso will cause testicular atrophy or something.

[quote]Daniel Hinds wrote:
i usually see everyone blasting and dissing crunches and i find it amazing how it is seen as just some useless ab exercise due to its low resistance. I wouldnt wanna be self praising but my abs are mad strong if any part at all (probably due to gymnastics, martial arts and breakdancing), even when i go in the gym everyone is amazed that i use more weight than the “bigger” guys.

Anyway back to the point, i believe the reason why crunches are seen as a basic exercise and sometimes useless is due to persons in the fitness industry not performing them correctly.

The way how i do them is keep the tension on throughout my whole set, instead of using the method of contracting only on the concentric. And at a quick tempo. I usually do it as a drop set (well really drop the reps, rather than the resistance if used). Most people that say that they do 500 crunches usually start crying by 20 of the first set then drop the 15 by the second. Another thing is that the rest time between sets are almost zero lol, like 5-10 secs.

Anyway tell me what yall think, i actually learnt it from my bro, who was into bodybuilding.[/quote]

Listen to this guy carefully. His name is the “Food Dude”. Scroll down his myspace and you will see his discussion on CRUNCHES. VERY INFORMATIVE. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

Terrible thread, every exercise has a use, and at the same time there is no end-all ab exercise.

[quote]Serd wrote:
Listen to this guy carefully. His name is the “Food Dude”. Scroll down his myspace and you will see his discussion on CRUNCHES. VERY INFORMATIVE. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.


[/quote]

Couldn’t find the discussion on his page. What is his point?

[quote]Modi wrote:
Serd wrote:
Listen to this guy carefully. His name is the “Food Dude”. Scroll down his myspace and you will see his discussion on CRUNCHES. VERY INFORMATIVE. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

Couldn’t find the discussion on his page. What is his point?[/quote]

Friday, December 08, 2006

Q&A: Crunches, Tongue Position, and Balls by Sean Croxton

Q: Hi, i couldn’t catch what you were talking about in the video. What is it about when you mentioned about the tongue and doing crunches?

A: The tongue is an important part of your “flexor chain”. You have 3 flexors when crunching: hip flexors, trunk flexors (abs), and neck flexors (hyoids). If the hyoids are not contracted when crunching, the neck extensors take over and will eventually get too strong acting to extend the upper cervical spine (head area) and flex the lower cervical spine (neck area). This will push your head forward and give you the turtle look. The only way to activate your neck flexors (hyoids) is to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Here’s a cool trick:

Have a friend place one hand on your forehead and the other on your upper pack. Have him/her push on your forehead (not too hard at first) while you hold your tongue loose and mouth open. See how much force your friend has to push with to overpower you and get your head to tip backwards. If you look closely, you’ll see a fat muscle on the side of your neck pop out. That’s your neck extensor (sternocleidomastoid).

Then, try it again. But the second time, swallow and see where your tongue goes. It’ll go right behind your front teeth. Hold it there. Push on the forehead again and compare the difference in strength. When the hyoids are turned on, you’ll be much stronger and your sternocleidomastoid won’t be as prominent.

Never hold your head when crunching. Keep your fingertips just behind the ears. Never use the ab roll-ups that support your head. Many of my clients can do 100 crunches with their heads supported or in poor position. When they use their hyoids and stop holding their heads, they can only do about 15-20 before their necks start to hurt. Remember, quality before quantity.

Also, never do crunches on the floor. Your spine can bend backwards about 45 degrees and bend forward about 30 degrees. When you crunch on the floor, you’re cutting out over half the range of motion. Grab a BOSU or a stability ball. Go all the way back! Go slowly! It WILL burn! Good question.

I didn’t get a chance to really muse over or try this, but it is interesting.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:
Modi wrote:
Serd wrote:
Listen to this guy carefully. His name is the “Food Dude”. Scroll down his myspace and you will see his discussion on CRUNCHES. VERY INFORMATIVE. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

Couldn’t find the discussion on his page. What is his point?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Q&A: Crunches, Tongue Position, and Balls by Sean Croxton

Q: Hi, i couldn’t catch what you were talking about in the video. What is it about when you mentioned about the tongue and doing crunches?

A: The tongue is an important part of your “flexor chain”. You have 3 flexors when crunching: hip flexors, trunk flexors (abs), and neck flexors (hyoids). If the hyoids are not contracted when crunching, the neck extensors take over and will eventually get too strong acting to extend the upper cervical spine (head area) and flex the lower cervical spine (neck area). This will push your head forward and give you the turtle look. The only way to activate your neck flexors (hyoids) is to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Here’s a cool trick:

Have a friend place one hand on your forehead and the other on your upper pack. Have him/her push on your forehead (not too hard at first) while you hold your tongue loose and mouth open. See how much force your friend has to push with to overpower you and get your head to tip backwards. If you look closely, you’ll see a fat muscle on the side of your neck pop out. That’s your neck extensor (sternocleidomastoid).

Then, try it again. But the second time, swallow and see where your tongue goes. It’ll go right behind your front teeth. Hold it there. Push on the forehead again and compare the difference in strength. When the hyoids are turned on, you’ll be much stronger and your sternocleidomastoid won’t be as prominent.

Never hold your head when crunching. Keep your fingertips just behind the ears. Never use the ab roll-ups that support your head. Many of my clients can do 100 crunches with their heads supported or in poor position. When they use their hyoids and stop holding their heads, they can only do about 15-20 before their necks start to hurt. Remember, quality before quantity.

Also, never do crunches on the floor. Your spine can bend backwards about 45 degrees and bend forward about 30 degrees. When you crunch on the floor, you’re cutting out over half the range of motion. Grab a BOSU or a stability ball. Go all the way back! Go slowly! It WILL burn! Good question.

I didn’t get a chance to really muse over or try this, but it is interesting.[/quote]

Ah, yes…right there where it says (view more). Reading comprehension not strong.

Anyways, this is a favorite of Paul Chek’s, actually it sounds a lot like his wording. It also helps people who get neck pain while doing crunches.

Thanks Tirib for pointing that out.

[quote]Modi wrote:
<<<Thanks Tirib for pointing that out.[/quote]

No trouble. The link is easy to miss.

I definitely think that the only people insulting crunches are people who do not know how to perform them properly.
One example of somebody who doesn’t perform them properly would be somebody who claims they can do 100 crunches. It doesn’t matter how strong your abs are, if you are concentrating on keeping as much of a contraction as possible, and going nice and slow on the up and down, you wont be able to get near 100.

I personally had a hard to learning to do crunches properly. What really helped me was visualizing drawing my ribcage towards my pelvis, instead of visualizing lifting my upper body off the ground. Made all the difference.

[quote]Imen de Naars wrote:

  • A modified version of crunches: basically you position yourself on the edge of a bench, placing some weight on the other side so that there is something to balance the force that you’re going to apply with your body. Then you dip down with your back until your head touches the ground and your abdomen is almost completely stretched. Repeat, possibly weighed.[/quote]

Sounds like Roman Chair sit-ups, except with an element of danger. Where do you put your feet for this exercise?

Crunches only hit part of your abs and have very little to do with stability. There are specific ab exercises, where you maintain a solid core that hits those muscles. There are reverse crunches. There are a lot of exercises to perform.

I think if you only do crunches you’ll be working part of your abs, so by themselves, I don’t think much of them.

LOL my name definitely isnt the food dude and why would ppl believe im tryna say that crunches are the number one exercise for abs or the sole greatest exercise. im sure many ppl on this board know about working in differents planes and the many different functions of the core (which is not limited to trunk flexion) and which includes many muscles such as rectus adominis, tranversus adominis, external and internal obliques, erector spinae, and the iliopsoas.

my statement was jus bent on how persons make crunches seem useless (i dont even really do dem that often, if anything i’ll do ab wheel, dragon flags, full body pulls (on rings), front lever, oh and hanging pike lifts.)

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:
Imen de Naars wrote:

  • A modified version of crunches: basically you position yourself on the edge of a bench, placing some weight on the other side so that there is something to balance the force that you’re going to apply with your body. Then you dip down with your back until your head touches the ground and your abdomen is almost completely stretched. Repeat, possibly weighed.

Sounds like Roman Chair sit-ups, except with an element of danger. Where do you put your feet for this exercise?
[/quote]

I put them on the middle section of the bench. I looked up the exercise you mention, and it’s actually exactly what I do, except that I did not know the name.

Where do you see the possible danger?