I am looking at the CORE of the situation!
Are you still doing sit-ups or crunches?
If so, here are some reasons you need to change things up.
Crunches Only Work the Surface
This is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, this creates an imbalance and overlooks the most important muscles, the inner and outer oblique’s. We all like that ‘six pack’ muscles look but they do nothing to protect the stability or integrity of the spinal column.
Additionally, strong outer muscles covering the weak core muscles provide a false sense of security, significantly increasing the risk of a back injury.
Nerve Damage is Another Potential Problem
You could potentially be damaging the nerves with too many crunches and sit-ups. The crunch movement puts an unhealthy strain on the back and neck right at their weakest points. The repeated flexing action of a sit-up or crunch can cause your spine to be subjected to high levels of compression. Over time, this movement may cause a bulging, or herniated, disk that could lead to chronic back and leg pain.
Poor posture is often an indication of a weak core!
A strong core will ensure you have a strong posture; the muscles of the core and lower back help keep your upper back and shoulders neutral. The two most common postural problems I have encountered, as a rehab trainer are anterior pelvic tilt and forward head posture. It is the ‘desk-job’ lifestyle that many of us have or it is the chronic use of technology (phones, laptops...) that are part of our daily routines. These body positions generally lead to our poor posture.
Proper posture relies on three crucial components: a strong posterior chain (glutes, lower back and hamstrings) transverse abdominals (located under the obliques, it is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and wraps around your spine for protection and stability), a mobile trunk and an open front-side (good posture).
It is essential to be aware of and able to correct muscle imbalance patterns, as they often lead to poor posture. If you are unaware of these imbalances then your exercise techniques are compromised which will lead to injuries! Crunches are pulling the shoulders forward not allowing the spine to move freely as it is designed to do.
The ‘CORE’ is Multi-Functional & Multi-Dimensional
Your core is a complex series of muscles, extending far beyond your abs, including everything besides your arms and legs. It incorporates almost every movement of the human body. Our core has functional movement in three planes of motion: the sagittal plane, coronal plane, and the transverse plane.
The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right.
When we move along this plane, we are using the strength of our muscles to move parts of the body forward or backward. Extension and flexion happen along the sagittal plane. This means most running, biking, rowing, and lifting movements make use of this plane.
The coronal plane divides the body into front and back.
When we move along this plane, we are moving toward or away from the midline. Adduction and abduction are movements along this plane. Many of our daily movements and exercises involve very little abduction. We tend to stay neatly hugged in toward the middle.
The transverse (or horizontal) plane divides the body into top and bottom, but it is a little less straightforward. Any time we rotate THE SPINE we are moving along the transverse plane. In daily life, we do this action least frequently, particularly with the large joints in the hips, shoulders, and spine.
Many of the muscles are hidden beneath the exterior muscles people typically train. The deeper muscles include the transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and many other deeper muscles. These muscles can act as an isometric or dynamic stabilizer for movement, transfer force from one extremity to another or initiate movement itself.
Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer centre rather than a prime mover. Yet consistently people focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation. This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, kettlebell movements and even barbell complex routes.
I can help you with routines that discover your true core and find muscles you never thought you had!