Many gym goers can attest to having experienced difficulties when working out on their abdominals. Most of people tend to associate back exercise as simply being a couple of crunches away from achieving those perfect chiseled abs, just like in the movies.
The truth is, crunches are not the most ideal way for one to strengthen their neck and back regions. The exercise comes recommended for those looking to strengthen their midsection and lose fat around the belly region.
On the other hand, core training places emphasis on preventing movement rather than creating it. Most back injuries can be attributed to repeated flex and extension movements in the spine. Thus, crunches can actually do more harm than good when one is looking to protect their lumbar regions. Stronger abs may just mean a weakened back.
Research done by Harvard Medical School shows that crunches actually push our curved spines against the floor and work our hip flexors, these are the muscles running from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae located in the lower back. Continued crunches may actually stress the hip flexors by making them too tight. This can result in lower back pain and put strain on the neck.
Echiro Practor offers in-depth analysis on the essence of protecting the back and neck regions in order to avoid maladies like disk desiccation. It’s important to note that the core goes way beyond the abdominal muscles, thus, there are better exercises out there that can handle more than a couple of isolated muscles.
Dying Bugs – these exercises involve lying on one’s back and putting arms straight up towards the ceiling with the knees and hips slightly bent up to about 90 degrees. While doing this exercise, it’s important to ensure that the rib cage stays down whilst extending the opposite arm and leg out in between deep breaths.
Leg Lowering – once more, while still lying on the back, one needs to life both legs upwards such that both feet are facing the ceiling. The next phase involves slowly lowering one leg down as close to the ground as imaginable then slowly returning back to its initial position. All this while, the other leg should still be upright. Once done, one needs to interchange the legs position and repeat for a number of good tries. Ideally, the exercise should be performed about 20 times with sets of about three.
Side Plank – elbows need to stay under the shoulder and the shoulder needs to stay away from the ear. What this exercise does is that it specifically targets the obliques. Preferably, the objective should be to last 60 seconds.
Side Plank with Leg Lift – this exercise is a progression from the latter Side Plank exercise. It’s just like it only that this time, one needs to lift the top leg.
Front Plank – this system involves setting up the elbows and toes without letting the hips dip or crest upwards.
Ab wheels, ab dollys and bands offer portable solutions to strengthen the core and training both the upper and lower regions of the body. In addition, these equipment help add some degree of resistance during the core exercises.