Crunches 🚫 eek!
If you’ve trained with me, you know that I am not a fan of the “crunch”.
Most people do NOT do them correctly which negates why we actually do them.
Let me explain more… Ideal form for a crunch maintains neutral alignment of head and spine, and engages the deepest abdominal muscles that draw abs inward.
Key word = INWARD.
Most people execute a crunch with outward pressure to both the abdominal muscles AND pelvic floor muscles— and puts the neck in a “kinky” position (think, chin touching your chest).
This translates to dozens of reps that can be uncomfortable and not very effective.
Strong abs are needed to support and stabilize the torso…
so without a strong front side, the backside (back muscles) will take the grunt of your everyday workload.
How does your back feel at the end of the day?
Do you feel strong, or sore and achy?
For us mamas, “workload” means carrying and picking up kids, lifting Amazon boxes, hauling copious amounts of Target bags, or just moving things around the house.
Moms need to be functionally strong to eliminate back pain and take care of the kiddos.
There are MORE EFFECTIVE exercises than a crunch to strengthen abdominal muscles.
Spot fat reduction is not possible. Love handles will not appear toner with 100’s of crunches. Abs are made in the kitchen. #truth
Try out any of these five exercises to help build stronger core muscles and reduce back pain.
Yep, they do require some effort…that’s how strength is achieved. I know you’re ready for a challenge, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this! 😉
1. Bear Crawls: forward/backward/side-to-side, 10 each direction — maintain neutral spine, keep your knees close to the ground as possible. This ‘simple’ move requires lots of hip and shoulder mobility. Skip if you have sore wrists.
2. Side Planks with 10 leg raises: modified or full side plank— stick with modified side plank if you have an abdominal wall separation.
3. Hover & Squeeze with 10 belly breaths: use towel, pillow, yoga block, or child’s ball between KNEES— take a deep belly breath in through your nose, as you slowly exhale gently squeeze ball and engage lower abs.
4. Half-Kneeling Halos, 10 each direction: use a dumbbell or kettlebell to swivel around your head…like a halo. If using a kettlebell, hold bell upside down. Choose a weight (10-20 pounds) that is a decent challenge to complete.
5. Farmer’s Carry: pick up two heavy objects (yep, this weight could be a stack of Target bags on one arm, baby in the other!). A carry is one of the most functional and core strength building exercises we can practice as moms! Walk tall, briskly, and for as long as you can while carrying weights.
Each of these abdominal exercises tend to be safe for mamas with a normal abdominal wall separation AND expecting mamas. Because we are all different, check with your physical therapist or physician to verify they are appropriate for YOU.
Be sure to check out the video to see how each exercise is executed. Try one set or even just one of the five exercises— our motto at AMC, anything is better than nothing.