When it comes to crunches, people tend to get chills because of the hard work involved. Some people also feel it to be boring and hence look for some other alternative. There has been a long debate about whether plank is the best exercise for abs or the crunches but considering the research report released in April 2014, it has been found out that traditional crunches are really good for shaping up the abdominals.
The researchers at American Council on Exercise (ACE) used the study of from the University of Wisconsin in order to compare the impact of various abdominal exercises and equipments for traditional crunches. The researchers also compared several ab equipments like Ab circle Pro, Ab Roller, Ab Lounge, Perfect Sit-up, Ab- Coaster, Ab Rocket, Ab Wheel and the Ab Straps in order to find out their effectiveness for the purpose of shaping up the abs. The other core exercises such as yoga boat pose, stability ball crunch, decline bench curl-up, captain’s chair crunch, bicycle crunch were also considered for the study.
When the study was made on all of these above mentioned equipment and exercises, the researchers found shocking results. They held the view that none of these exercises or equipments were enough to shape up the abdominal muscles. However, they stated that the traditional crunches can make a significant difference to the shape of muscles.
You must be surprised by the results and so are we. A lot of people try several of the above mentioned exercises and equipments but none of them work in the same way as the traditional crunches. The natural core exercises are the most efficient when it comes to making abs. The certified personal trainer at ACE, Jacque Ratliff also agrees with the results and agrees that traditional crunches are the best way to reach stronger abs.
An ample of gym goers hold the belief that crunches are not natural but in reality, there are so many activities in daily life that require crunch movement. Ratliff added that getting out of the bed in the morning requires crunch movement like getting up from a fall and even playing with the kids on the floor. The results of the study have come off as a surprise to a substantial number of gym goers but the fact remains intact that traditional crunch is the best way to get proper strong abs.
In order to conduct the study and forge out the results, the researchers used electrodes and placed them on the upper and lower rectus abdominals, external obliques and the rectus femoris of the people participating in the survey. After setting up the arrangement, all the ab exercises and equipments were tested. When the results came out, traditional crunches were considered to give the best muscle activation. Side plank and front plank made a great impact on the upper muscle activation in the upper abs. However, they reduced the muscle activation in the lower abdominals of the participants.
The conclusion does not point to the fact that you should skip all the other exercises and stick to traditional crunches for making stronger abs. But it is now clear that the importance of traditional crunches is very important when it comes to building up abs. There is a constraint with traditional crunches though. It is not so safe for everyone as reported by Ratliff. The use of traditional crunch exercise shall be resonant with your goals in the workout. If you are looking for the stability of the trunk, then traditional crunches are not a good option. But if the person is on the lookout for strengthening the abs through forward flexion, then there is nothing better than the traditional crunches. The key lays in the proper execution of the ab exercise, according to Ratliff.
The initiation of traditional crunches takes off with lying down on the ground with your back. However, the research by ACE was done through bent knees and feet resting on the ground. You should thus put the hands on the back of the head and not the neck and this movement must include curling your shoulders and start to move the upper back off the ground while taking the forehead towards the ceiling of the room. The most common mistake that is made by the gym goers while doing the traditional abs crunch exercise is that they tuck their chin into the chest and use hands in order to take their head forward. This minimizes the stress on the abdominal muscles and the exercise becomes useless therefore. The hands shall be used only as a bed for resting your head and the abdominals must be used in order to pull your body forward.
In a nutshell, crunches may not serve to be the best abs exercise if you are suffering from the back ailments. If the planks and your equipments are working for you, then you should not give them up either. The key to getting proper abs using traditional crunches is to do them properly, otherwise it can easily backfire on the subject.