The abs crunch is an exercise that you get to know (and most likely hate) as a child during gym classes. As you’re young and impressionable, you accept the idea that this exercise is important and useful… after all, your gym teacher says so.
As you grow older, though, you may begin to wonder why you still have all this belly fat even though you’re doing crunches all the time. The reality is that this is a BAD exercise and you should stop doing it. In fact, there plenty of reasons why crunches suck big time.
Reason #1 – Crunches Are Bad For Your Back
Crunches place an unhealthy strain on your back. As you bend and flex your back during crunches, you’re placing considerable strain on your spine… and you’re doing it repeatedly and fast, many times over. This can lead to back pain – in some cases severe – and even cause injury to one of the most sensitive and important body parts.
Even though they’re often touted as a core exercise, what crunches give you is an imbalanced exercise experience and one which can actually lead to a weaker and unbalanced core.
Reason #2 tthrough Reason #250,001 – Crunches Are Useless
I used to do 40 minutes of ab exercises (mostly crunches) each day. Yes, I went through a crazy-abs period in my life.
At the same time I also did cardio and intense full body training and watched my diet, and you know what? I got a six pack. Then, I got bored with ab exercises and stopped doing them almost completely (and I never do crunches any more) and the result is: I stayed about the same. Because my workouts are good and my nutrition is solid, I still have a flat belly. I don’t need crunches and never have needed them at all.
According to Men’s Health Magazine, crunches are one of the most ineffective abdominal exercises that you can do. It takes 250,000 of them to burn a single pound of fat. What this means is that you may need to spend weeks of actual time in order to shrink your abs by just one pound. But, it gets even worse: no one guarantees that this one pound of fat will all come off your abs. As you can’t spot reduce fat, this one pound will come off your body as a whole. What will melt off from your abs will be very little indeed.
Unless you want to actually live on a workout mat and never get off of it, you need to find faster and better ways to lose belly fat than crunches. The good news is that there’s a lot that you can do.
How To Burn Belly Fat Without Doing A Single Crunch
You don’t need to do a single crunch in order to burn belly fat or tone your abs. You can do much more effective ab exercises that will strengthen and tone your stomach. Let’s see what you need to do instead of crunches.
Powerful Ab Exercises
There are plenty of ab exercises that won’t hurt your back but will give your abs the workout they need.
1. Plank (and side planks) – A great static exercise that is much harder than it looks. In fact, this is an excellent core exercise all around.
2. Leg raises – Whether done in a Captain’s Chair or with a pull up bar, there is very little that is harder on the abs than leg raises.
3. Leg drops – Lie on your back and lower both legs from a 90 degree angle toward the floor until you can’t hold them with a straight back any longer.
4. Ab roll with a stability ball – Requires a lot of balance so it works the stomach intensely.
5. Knee tuck with a ball – Requires strong muscles, balance, and control. This is an exercise that’s hard to master but worth every rep.
Full Body Strength Training
Crunches symbolize the very worst tactic for abdominal fat loss: a pinpointed approach.
The real way to melt off belly fat like butter is to take a broader approach and do full body workouts that work your whole body and focus on total fat loss and not on one body part. This is why I favor circuit training, multi-jointed exercises, and metabolic resistance training styled workouts. These help you to burn more fat and get a faster metabolism. Once you do these sort of workouts, fat loss becomes easier.
I’ve spoken before about the advantages of high intensity interval training. It’s the best way to do cardio for fat loss. It saves time and gets results. With HIIT you change the pace of your workout through a range of intensities. Research shows that this boosts fat loss and your metabolism.
Combine Strength And Cardio
Neither cardio nor strength training should be done alone. You should do both in order to achieve the best results, both in terms of fat loss and muscle toning.
Doing abs crunches is a waste of time. It doesn’t really help you burn fat and it doesn’t really make your muscles stronger. You can do much better with other forms of abdominal exercises. In addition, training your whole body is a much faster way to get flat abs. So, leave crunches to school-children. Now you know better.