Are Ab Crunches Useless?

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Like most people, I want to get rid of my belly fat, so I do crunches religiously. But someone told me recently that crunches are not an effective way to work your abs. If this is true, why are we told to do crunches? Should I keep doing them or have I been wasting my time?

Ab crunches are possibly one of the most misunderstood, misused exercises on the planet. While crunching can be great for strengthening the abs, it will not make belly fat disappear. In fact, if done incorrectly, ab crunches won’t give you any of the results you desire.

Want to find out if you’ve been doing ab crunches properly?

Here’s the proper technique:

  • Lie on the floor with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. You should just be able to touch your ankles with your finger tips. You can also bend your leg at a 90 degree angle.
  • Place your hands on the back of your head, fingertips resting lightly just behind your ears.
  • Lift your shoulder blades off the ground
  • Squeeze your abs for a second.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

This video demonstrates how to do a proper ab crunch. The primary muscles you use are your rectus abdominus — the ones at the front of your abs. You also use your external and internal obliques, which are on either side of your waist. When most people do ab exercises, they initiate an abdominal crunch from their hip flexors instead of engaging their core. Ab crunches, when performed correctly, are a valuable exercise in terms of building core strength.

But back to the bad news: When it comes to eliminating belly fat, you’re out of luck. You could do 500 crunches every single day and it would still not get rid of your spare tire. The only way to do that is by creating a calorie deficit. In other words: Watch what you eat. Spot reduction to eliminate fat is just not possible.

Bottom line: Don’t spend too much time sweating over your crunches — if you’re interested in combating body fat, the best way is to strengthen your entire body with exercises like the ones in the Sarah Super Set.

About the Fitness Expert: Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, boot camp and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.

Editor’s Review:

It’s absolutely right, first crunches are very poorly executed and second they will not make belly fat go away that easy.

NUTRITION, lots of people think they can get away by neglecting it. As long as you keep eating what you are eating and nothing is happening and you keeping on eating the same things and it is not working… do you see a pattern here. Respect yourself and wonders will take place. I see it all the time.

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