Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

July 24, 2015

The “Big Three” (Abdominal Crunches)

I mentioned the Big Three the other day.

Here I want to clarify the Abdominal Crunches part of it. I do this because most people still think crunches and sit-ups are pretty much the same thing. Rather than take up a bunch of space dealing with all of that confusion, here I will discuss the exercise that I use with patients who are coming out of an episode of back pain and want to prevent a relapse. (At the end, if this isn’t too long, I will review proper Crunch technique.)

The “Reverse Back Crunch” is an exercise taught by Peter Egoscue in his book, Pain Free. To do the exercise you lie on your back like you were going to do a crunch (knees up, feet flat). It doesn’t matter what you do with your head (leave it down) or your arms because they are not involved.

From here you simply push your lower back down into the floor/mat/bed (whatever you are on). That’s it! Push down – contracting in other words – for a couple of seven second breaths. Then release and relax. Then repeat, 6, 8, 10, 12 times whatever seems like a “challenging” number of repetitions. Rest a while and do it again. It is a (ab) strengthening exercise so, as mentioned earlier, you can use the 3-5 protocol. But it also sends reflex signals to the lower back muscles to relax, so that’s a bonus – and a needed one for many.

[I looked for a photo, but only found photos showing things I wouldn’t want you to see, so…]

Now the crunch. You can Google it and find YouTube videos, but what I recommend you won’t find there. Keep the chin on the chest the entire time! This protects your neck and keeps you from injuries you don’t need. Up ’til your palms are on your knees; down until your shoulder blades touch is a rep. This is a decent exercise and the one used to test you for normal abdominal strength. When you can do a “normal” number of these we can talk about an ab exercise that is really worth doing; one that has at least 6 different benefits – which justifies taking the time and trouble to do anything at all for your abs.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] I discussed both the Bird Dog and the Abdominal Crunch, I thought a few words about the Side Bridge might be in order. Why? Because there are a couple of […]

    Pingback by Side Bridge – One of The Big Three | Everett Chiropractic Center Blog — July 27, 2015 @ 1:00 pm


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