It’s amazing how many women we see looking to tone their stomachs with sit ups but not getting the results they want. It’s an exercise that nearly everyone has tried at some point and a very common gym exercise. However, crunches are not all they are cracked up to be, and more often than not your physio will point you away from them for the following reasons:
- Crunches place a huge compressive force on your spine, and can often worsen back pain. The load on your spine may be the equivalent of over 300kg!
- The muscles used in crunching are your hip flexors and superficial stomach muscles tightening and shortening. However, these muscles are already tight and short due to all the sitting we do all day.
- Crunches give you the opposite of a flat tummy. Next time you watch someone doing a crunch, look at their tummy. You will notice their tummy pouches outwards. On top of this, they will likely hold their breath, round their shoulders and tuck their head in, only serving to exacerbate poor posture
- Crunches increase your intra-abdominal pressure which places a downward pressure on your pelvic floor and an outwards pressure on your abdominal muscles. This can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and can lead to muscle separation of the 6 pack muscles (Diastis Recti). The downward pressure on your pelvic floor can eventually lead to prolapse and incontinence.
- A lot of post natal women have a Diastis Recti and do not realise. Often the first exercise they will attempt when trying to get their body back is a sit up, potentially worsening the problem by increasing the pressure on an already weakened abdominal wall. Most postnatal women or people who spend most of their day sitting do not have the core stability to safely withstand a crunch. Crunches are more likely to weaken your core and pelvic strength and worsen your posture.A much more effective and safe way to flatten your tummy, strengthen your core and improve your posture is Clinical Pilates. Clinical Pilates focuses on the deep muscles of your tummy and proper posture, and done in positions that won’t compromise your back, pelvic floor or alignment.
We run quality classes on specialised equipment with qualified physiotherapists who have the higher level knowledge required to strengthen without causing injury. Call our clinic today on 5232 2400 and book an appointment with one of our Pilates Trained Physiotherapists
At Corio Bay Sports Treatment Clinic – We can HELP!