Friday, December 13, 2013

Doing This Over Rated Exercise?

Overrated: Crunches

  • Overrated: Crunches
This gym-class standard needs an update: According to research from San Diego State University, the traditional crunch is the least effective strengthener for both the rectus abdominus (6-pack muscles) and the obliques (waist muscles). What's more, because sit-ups require more strength from front ab muscles than obliques, this move can create a strength imbalance in the core -- setting you up for back problems.

  • Your Upgrade: The Plank

    • Your Upgrade: The Plank
    Not only does the plank require more muscle activation in the obliques than the traditional crunch, according to research, but researchers have also found that practicing this position can actually help lower the risk of developing lower back pain later in life, according to Matthews. Why? "The plank targets your abdominal muscles, helps to build muscular endurance and spares your spine in the process," she says.