Abs/Crunch question

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misterjingo
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Abs/Crunch question

Post by misterjingo » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:11 pm

When I do the basic crunch, I can do about 12-15 of them before my lower back gets really tight. Does this mean that my abs are so weak that my lower back is picking up the slack?

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Stephen Johnson
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Re: Abs/Crunch question

Post by Stephen Johnson » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:41 pm

misterjingo wrote:When I do the basic crunch, I can do about 12-15 of them before my lower back gets really tight. Does this mean that my abs are so weak that my lower back is picking up the slack?
Could be:

Another major contributor to lower back pain is weakness of the abdominal muscles in relation to the lower back muscles. One of the many misconceptions made over the years is that doing ab crunches will take pressure off the lower back. Crunches primarily work the rectus abdominal muscles that you can visually see but fails to get at the transverse abdominus muscle group, which lies underneath. The transverse abdominus attaches directly to the spine and is usually the first muscle to act in almost any movement. Rather than flexing or extending the spine, its function is to stabilize and rotate the spine. When this muscle gets weak or "shut off," others have to take over to compensate and the end result is overworked muscles and back pain. To strengthen the transverse abdominus, one can start by lying on their back in a sit up position. Instead of performing a crunch, concentrate on drawing in your belly button toward the floor and flattening your back. This can also be performed by sitting on a Swiss ball and sucking in your belly button in and holding for five seconds.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:59 pm

Could also be poor flexibility in the erectors.

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Post by Dowls » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:49 pm

another possible cause of back pain is over recruitment of hipflexors, particularly illiopsoas, this muscle goups has proximal attachments on all lumbar vertabrae and has the action to flex the spine if the distal aspect is fixed, as in doin a cruch with feet anchored ect

Try doin your crunches with your feet raised and resting on a bench, this shortens psoas a little, and it becomes passive so takes the emphasise off them and allows rectus abdominus to work more. Also just concentrate on the first 30 degrees or so of the spinal flexion (the cruch) as research has found that beyond 30 degrees the hipflexors become largely active.

Also as mentioned above if TA is weak you will find it very diffiuclt todo any kind of situp as the spinal stability is not strong enough to provide a solid base for the movement to occur
"nothing happens in isolation"

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Post by KPj » Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:33 am

Dowls wrote:another possible cause of back pain is over recruitment of hipflexors, particularly illiopsoas, this muscle goups has proximal attachments on all lumbar vertabrae and has the action to flex the spine if the distal aspect is fixed, as in doin a cruch with feet anchored ect

Try doin your crunches with your feet raised and resting on a bench, this shortens psoas a little, and it becomes passive so takes the emphasise off them and allows rectus abdominus to work more. Also just concentrate on the first 30 degrees or so of the spinal flexion (the cruch) as research has found that beyond 30 degrees the hipflexors become largely active.

Also as mentioned above if TA is weak you will find it very diffiuclt todo any kind of situp as the spinal stability is not strong enough to provide a solid base for the movement to occur
I agree with this and most of the other replies as well. As far as I know research has basically "rubbished" sit ups and traditional crunches mostly due to the hip flexor involvement and constantly bending the lower back, which isn't really a good thing.

When I discovered this it made alot of sense as I experienced the same thing the OP described. Since then I only ever do reverse crunches, leg raises, hanging leg raises, and the 'kneeling rope crunch' - i'm not sure of the name but you can find it here

http://exrx.net/WeightExercises/RectusA ... runch.html

From personal experience, I noticed a big difference from doing these exercises.

KP

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