Two Spoke Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'm perusing the interwebs for fitness articles, and I happened across one titled "Four Exercises to a Flat Belly," so I clicked to take a peak inside.

My first inclination was "that's got to be some crap 'do crunches this new magical way' article," and sure enough that's what I saw. Are people that obtuse that they STILL think crunches will flatten the abs? On that note, how can anyone still think that ab work alone will flatten the stomach?????

This is by far one of the more annoying things about this industry (one of the other ones being Gillian Michaels). How, with all of the science available on how to train the body, can an article like this slip through the cracks? Well, lucky for you, I read such science daily, and I'm going to share some with you right now:
AB WORK. WILL NOT. FLATTEN. YOUR STOMACH.

You know what will? Putting on muscle head to toe.

Not doing tricep kickbacks "to sculpt" the arms. NOT doing some bastardized crunch of some kind to "firm up your abs." And you sure as hell aren't going to "lengthen and tone" your muscles doing Pilates. Your muscles are a set length at birth, the reason the models in Pilates ads have long lean physiques is because THEY WERE BORN WITH THEM. If you weren't, sorry, it ain't gonna happen.

Here are the exercises selected for the best ways to flatten your belly:

Bosu Crunch
First of all, toss your Bosu in the Goodwill pile, I won't bore you with why you should in this piece, if you want to know click here. So, one of the highlights exercise is to "round your spine forward as you take your chest toward your pelvis." So, in order to do the crunch correctly, you must flex your spinal column to complete the movement on top of most people probably recruiting the hip flexors as well. And that's wrong btw, you should NEVER recruit your hip flexors in your ab work.

“There are only so many bends or a ‘fatigue life’, in your spinal disks,” says Stuart M. McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. "Inside each disk is a mucus-like nucleus. and if you keep flexing your spine and bending the disk over and over again, that nucleus slowly breaches the layers and causes a disk bulge, or a disk herniation.”


And to further support not doing crunches, ever:


"A herniated disk won’t show through your swimsuit, but it’s no fun, and can cause persistent back and leg pain, weakness, and tingling, says McGill (Stop Doing Sit-Ups: Why Crunches Don't Work Kate Dailey)."

The Ab Wheel
This is actually a decent exercise. The problem is the level of difficulty is so excruciatingly high that based on what I've seen, less than 50% of the population could actually do this without developing a low back or shoulder injury. The pike motion done correctly will involve quite a bit of core musculature, the downside is to stabilize this motion back to the starting point requires strength that most people simply just don't have. Why this is recommended to a general population makes no sense.

Cross Body Crunch
See above, and ad in rotational torque with the potential to herniate the vertebral discs. It is also pretty common to get quite a bit of hip flexor involvement instead of the abs with this.

"By taking a flexion movement and adding a loaded rotation component, you’re well on your way to sending yourself off to the disabled list. In fact, we’ve dubbed these types of exercises “disc herniators” and inform our clients that they should only continue to do these if they wish to help us finance our latest facility expansion (The Three Worst Abdominal Exercises for People with Back Pain).

Single Leg Bosu Stance
WHAT?? How does standing in place on one leg on an unstable surface burn fat? It doesn't that's how. It isn't a metabolic power movement that burns a ton of calories in the recovery phase.

Plus, most people don't possess the right neural sequencing to properly stabilize their hips to allow their foot to actually stay still on solid ground let alone on something that moves. There are so many muscular compensation patterns you can develop from this its ridiculous.

So, now that we know what WON'T work for fat loss, here is the actual science of weight loss..... In the next article!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Ok so you seem to know what you are talking about here. My situation is that I have always had a fairly strong core. I have ridden since I was a kid. I am 55, I have also been training in Tae Kwon Do for the last 25 years. I had a health issue and a very bad work place injury that kept me from performing at my highest level for about 3 years, so I had to lose about 25 lbs to really get back into the swing of things (which I did). I do 100 to 150 crunches every other day (feet on floor legs bent shoulders towards knees and feet in the air legs bent at 45 degrees shoulders towards ceiling) and this does seem to tone and flatten my abs it also keeps my lower back from aching. I have always been very aware of how I use my body and I think I actually do crunches correctly. However this is not the first time I have heard that they are not a good idea. My back is still going strong and I would hate to do anything to hurt it. So what do I do? If you do respond please give me ideas on what to do at home. I really prefer not to go to the gym. Thanks in advance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Without seeing you in person for a full eval, it would be tough to determine specifically what you'd need. Spinal flexion is what you want to stay away from in regards to your crunches.

What I can tell you is that once we break our riders of their crunch habit and work in more McGill Curl Ups, planks, standing anti-rotation presses, Palloff Presses, bridges and thoracic spine mobility, they all get faster and it doesn't take too long. You can find all of these on youtube, BUT don't do them without getting an eval to make sure they are back friendly for you. 90+% of the time they are, but given your pathology, I'd highly recommend getting clearance to do them.

I'd suggest a one time eval from a NASM, NSCA, ACSM or CHEK certified trainer in your area, then pick their brain on the best things you can do at home based on what they find in your movement screen.

Once you do get eval'd, I'd also recommend "The New Rules of Lifting for the Abs." Incredible book, and in my its one of the best abdominal wall training books on the market right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
Like Noel, I have found sit-ups to help with prevention of back pain, strengthening my abs, and yes, flattening my stomach.

"Are people that obtuse that they STILL think crunches will flatten the abs?"

Uh, yes we are that obtuse! :)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,948 Posts
Got to be hundreds of commercials for gadgets to a "flatter and more defined abs" on TV. All saying theirs is better then all the rest. I don't use any of them, so I don't know but it would seem that many of them are a good way to loose your money. And I'm sure the people that you see on those commercials didn't get those abs "in just 30 days." I think Integrate has the answer and that is to go with those that specialize in sports and endurance training. For me, I'm too old to care about my abs at this point. I just want to get rid of the remaining love handles that I have left. There's not that much left, but it shows when I'm wearing certain jerseys and having a short torso, it stands out like a sore thumb.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
John_V said:
Got to be hundreds of commercials for gadgets to a "flatter and more defined abs" on TV. All saying theirs is better then all the rest. I don't use any of them, so I don't know but it would seem that many of them are a good way to loose your money. And I'm sure the people that you see on those commercials didn't get those abs "in just 30 days." I think Integrate has the answer and that is to go with those that specialize in sports and endurance training. For me, I'm too old to care about my abs at this point. I just want to get rid of the remaining love handles that I have left. There's not that much left, but it shows when I'm wearing certain jerseys and having a short torso, it stands out like a sore thumb.
You got it! There is no way to beat the system long term with fat loss.

The ONLY ways to do it are to establish a negative caloric deficit (which I'm not too big on, but it works), or putting on muscle to rev up the metabolism (which is my favorite way!!)

I like the second one best because you build strength as well as weight loss, you can't beat that!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
Please don't edit my posts.

I removed the words you put in my post because readers would have assumed I wrote them and I did not.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
qmsdc15 said:
Please don't edit my posts.

I removed the words you put in my post because readers would have assumed I wrote them and I did not.
I used your quote so people would know who I was answering. Werent the different color text boxes there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
If you have a big fat belly, crunches alone aren't going to make it go away.

Increasing metabolism will only cause weight loss if the increase results in a negative caloric intake, the two are not mutually exclusive.

I agree that exercise and diet should both play a part in a weight loss program but I think diet is the necessary component. Exercise alone will not cause weight loss unless caloric intake is controlled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
I used your quote so people would know who I was answering. Werent the different color text boxes there?
Edited; No the different color text box was not there. I think you mistakenly clicked on edit rather than quote. I don't think you intended to write in my post. I'm not mad about it. Hint, if I can make your words go away, you wrote them in the wrong place.

The words I removed
Crunches may help with the back pain, but unless you are doing 1000's of them to develop the amount of muscle necessary to increase your caloric expenditure, while in your case individually it may work, I havent seen that in too many cases.

I'm not say it isn't possible, I just don't see it all that often. Plus, there is little bang for the buck in terms of energy spent or functionality to how we move.

Doing your core standing is by far the most effective way to hit it. Plus, it's much more applicable to your daily existence in terms of how our muscles are supposed to support us as we move. You are teaching your muscles neurologically to sequence correctly in the upright position by doing this.

Keep in mind, our brains only know movements not muscles. So if we train a movement, and incorporate the right muscles firing, you will always get better results. Training the nervous system to fire the right muscles at the right time is the reason you get stronger from the neck up!

Floor base movements on the back have a certain level of carry over to other activities, but to truly take advantage of your training, you're always better off building movement patterns that mimic what you do daily.

If you do it when you're awake, do it when you exercise. This means push, pull, squat/lunge/level change, pick things up over your head (which is perfectly safe for your shoulder joints if you've built the right thoracic spine mobility for scapular retraction and depression) and hit the abs standing.

All of these done in an unsupported environment. Seated machine work doesn't give you the same functional benefits. I've seen people who can leg press 1000lbs for a sets of 10 who weren't able to do a 200lb deadlift because they weren't strong in that movement pattern.

You should ALWAYS TRY to do as many compound (as many muscles moving at once as possible) movements as you can if you want big bang for your buck caloric expenditure and core strength.

This is the formula we use at our place, and it has always worked. At varying rates mind based on the person, but it always works.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry about that, I thought I hit the "quote" button!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,867 Posts
Yes, no worries. It took me a while to realize that's what happened. I have done the same thing myself, but because I'm not a moderator, I can only do it (edit instead of quote) my own posts. :p
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
qmsdc15 said:
Yes, no worries. It took me a while to realize that's what happened. I have done the same thing myself, but because I'm not a moderator, I can only do it (edit instead of quote) my own posts. :p
No worries mate, simple miscue.

Enjoy your weekend on two wheels wherever you ride!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
What I can tell you is that once we break our riders of their crunch habit and work in more McGill Curl Ups, planks, standing anti-rotation presses, Palloff Presses, bridges and thoracic spine mobility, they all get faster and it doesn't take too long. You can find all of these on youtube, BUT don't do them without getting an eval to make sure they are back friendly for you. 90+% of the time they are, but given your pathology, I'd highly recommend getting clearance to do them.

Ill take you up on that challenge. I will drop my crunches and use the above exercises. Planks are already in my workout routine. In regards to the presses, are there other exercises that do not require gym equipment that may work?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Can you get access to rubber tubing? Most sporting goods stores have them. Also, do a search for RKC planks, they are more fun.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,015 Posts
Yeah i can get some tubing, I just dont have anything at the house that i would hook it to for the side to side resistance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Check out the JC Traveler in ihpfit.com, perfect for home use. About $20-49 depending on what you get.

They've got a piece that put into a door to anchor it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,973 Posts
Who needs to exercise, just heard a commercial on the radio about some pills that make the belly fat just melt away. My guess is the only thing that would be melting away is the bulk in your wallet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
The New Rules of Lifting for the Abs

I'd also recommend "The New Rules of Lifting for the Abs." Incredible book, and in my its one of the best abdominal wall training books on the market right now.
Thanks for recommending this. Really, really helpful!

I wonder if anyone has also worked through "You are your own Gym" by Mark Lauren. Lauren seems to be coming from a similar approach, particularly regarding the way abdominal training happens. I have found his book helpful as well.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
junkergeorge said:
Thanks for recommending this. Really, really helpful!

I wonder if anyone has also worked through "You are your own Gym" by Mark Lauren. Lauren seems to be coming from a similar approach, particularly regarding the way abdominal training happens. I have found his book helpful as well.
I'm not familiar with that book, but I will give it a look.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top