The Death of the Crunch? | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

The Death of the Crunch?

August 15, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

The Crunch is one of the most popular ab training exercises. Simple to perform, it has long been touted as the key to a strong core and shredded abs. But are more crunches really the answer?

Many trainers have actually begun removing the Crunch and similar exercises from their training programs. Learn what’s causing the slow death of the Crunch.

Stability Over Flexion

The Crunch and the Sit-Up involve a flexion of the spine and primarily engage the abdominals. Although the movement is great for the upper abs, it does very little for the rest of the core and doesn’t really enhance athleticism.

Think of any athletic movement that you regularly perform. You probably aren’t crunching up off the ground. Most sports skills are performed standing, and they involve power generated from the legs, up through the core and into an upper-body movement, like blocking a shot or pushing through an opposing lineman. If your core isn’t stable during these movements, you lose valuable power, have poor balance and put yourself at risk for injury.

Stability exercises increase strength in the entire core, including muscles in the front, sides and back of the body. A full 360 degrees of core strength locks in your spine and provides the stability you need to perform powerful athletic movements.

Stability Exercises

The basic stability exercise is the Plank. During the Plank, the entire core engages—even deep core muscles that are dormant during the Crunch—to maintain the position. Although the Plank doesn’t simulate an on-field skill, resisting gravity helps you maintain stability during other exercises and athletic movements.

The basic Plank can also be adapted for other stability exercises. The most common modifications are the Side Plank and the Superman, which target the sides and back of the body, respectively. However, you can take this a step further by performing a standing Plank with the Pallof Press; asymmetrically loading your core with a Standing Single-Arm Cable Press or Row; or performing exercises with the TRX Rip Trainer.

Verdict

If you want to get the most out of your core training, stability exercises are better than Crunches. Even though you aren’t crunching to directly engage the abs, you get a stronger and a more defined core with stability exercises.

You don't have to completely eliminate crunches from your training; just make sure they’re not the featured exercise in your core workout. Final verdict: the Crunch is not dead, but it's moribund.

Photo:  fitnessbeans.com

Topics: CORE | ABS
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Must See
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 4,060,261
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 23,792,114
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 17,438,174

Featured Videos

James Harden on Becoming a Franchise Player Views: 72,546
Path to the Pros 2015: Devin Smith Views: 29,436
Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 574,276
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,359,811
Colby Lewis's Four-Seam Fastball Technique
Views: 5,011,582
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,872,125
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,902,816

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

There are few things in the weight room as shameful as squatting too high. Unless your squat depth is low enough so that your thighs are parallel to the...

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Todd Durkin

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump