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Abdominal Crunches

Abdominal Crunches

The abdominal crunches exercise is one of the most famous for training the abdominal muscles and in this case the rectus abdominis muscle which by location and structure represents the aesthetic goal of many gym-goers.

In this short article, we will analyze the exercise in its main doubts: crunches to remove the belly? Reverse crunch for the lower abs?

Oblique crunches for external oblique and internal oblique muscle training? How to do the abdominals? Let’s find out where the truth lies in a few points.

Abdominals And Crunches

Abdominals And Crunches

Doing crunches will not help you in any way to remove the belly or lose weight locally in this area. Remember that a muscle is a muscle, fat is fat.

In the gym, while performing an exercise for anybody region the muscles contract and work on these, not on the adipose tissue. Fat is a store of energy in the form of triglycerides.

The unsightly one crammed on the belly is called subcutaneous or visceral, but there is not only that. In fact, within the muscle fibers including the abdominal muscles, there are small drops of intramuscular fat.

If the body needs fat as energy to do the Crunches it certainly gets it first from here and not from the fat on the belly (subcutaneous).

Consuming intramuscular fat will not change the aesthetics of your body because it is fat that is not seen.

If you want to call it localized weight loss well, but don’t sell false hopes to people by feeding myths that have nothing to do with weight loss that people mean.

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Reverse Crunch

Is it true that the reverse crunch stimulates the lower abs? If we analyze the scientific literature and apply the scientific theory it would seem not.

In fact, while it is true that some rehabilitation clinical texts report a test useful for discriminating the strength between the lower abdomen and upper abdomen this division is reported not for the rectus abdominis but based on the differences in orientation of the muscle fibers between the two oblique muscles.

Some fibers of these muscles due to their specific course, have biomechanical characteristics more favorable to the bending of the trunk typical of the classic ground crunch, others more favorable to become protagonists in the typical bending of the trunk instead of the reverse crunch.

So let’s not be mistaken. As indicated above, it is unthinkable to achieve localized weight loss in specific areas through a specific exercise.

The lower part of the rectus abdominis is less visible due to anatomical and genetic (there is in general a greater accumulation of adipose tissue in this area than in the upper one).

Doing reverse crunch thinking you are working only on a specific part of the rectus abdominis and burning the fat right there is pure utopia not supported by scientific evidence.

Book Crunch

Book Crunch

Oblique Crunches

Oblique Crunches

The typical classification of the exercises according to the muscle most affected shows that the so-called classic crunches are indicated for the rectus abdominis, while the so-called oblique crunches are indicated for the internal oblique and external oblique muscles.

Well, numerous authors challenge this solid certainty on which the training program aimed at the abdominals is often based.

In fact, from the electromyographic study by Juker in 1998, it is evident that both during the classic crunches and during the cross crunches the rectus abdominis is the dominant muscle and the obliques intervene only minimally without significant differences between the two executive methods.

The same conclusions were also given by a more recent study by Escamilla in 2006. An explanation for this seems to come from anatomy.

In fact, the rectum is contained in the aponeurosis sheath which acts as an insertion to the other abdominal muscles and this determines a simultaneous contraction of the latter every time the others are activated.

Crunch For Back Pain?

Crunch For Back Pain?

The abdominal/back pain association is often still present in fitness circles.

Unfortunately, this simplistic view often does more harm than good.

Thinking of solving often complex problems such as those related to lower back pain simply by offering a few Crunches a week is a pure lie. Not all abdominal muscles are the same.

Although it does not fit at the level of the spine it is essential to guarantee direct control of the movements of the pelvis especially during efforts involving the lower and upper body.

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The oblique muscles are the protagonists in this sense together with the fundamental action of the transverse muscle which stabilizes the lumbar spine through anticipatory contractions during any movement.

The rectus abdominis, on the other hand, plays a less important role in this context of joint health and colonizes only people’s aesthetic imagery.

Proposing Crunch without an evaluation and without criteria will most likely go in the opposite direction to that of resolving low back pain.

If we think of treating a person’s back by proposing a classic abdominal crunch routine in the gym or through an intensive course it means that some piece of our knowledge is missing.

Never improvise, recognize your limits and collaborate are the first things to do when a complex problem such as low back pain arises before us.

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