By Mike Chang
Unfortunately, you are NOT going to get six pack abs this way.
Here are the top 7 reasons why you should never do crunches:
REASON 1: THEY DON’T CAUSE YOU TO LOSE ANY FAT
Guess how many crunches you’d have to do to lose one pound of belly fat?
Five hundred? Eight hundred? Maybe even a THOUSAND?
As it turns out, it’s actually far more. Men’s Health recently did a study, and they found that you’d have to do approximately TWENTY THOUSAND crunches to lose one single pound of belly fat.
Why? Because there is no such thing as “spot reduction,” or losing fat in one specific place. You can only lose fat evenly over your entire body. And since crunches don’t use the large muscle groups of your body, they only burn tiny amounts of calories and miniscule amounts of fat.
REASON 2: DOING CRUNCHES WHEN YOU’RE OVERWEIGHT MAKES YOU LOOK MORE FAT
And to add insult to injury, a cruel “trick” of how we perceive the human body actually makes you look MORE fat if you’re overweight and you’re doing crunches…
All crunches (and any direct abdominal exercise for that matter) can do is build the abdominal muscles up. They’re actually not even very good at this especially when you’re already in shape, but they can build some muscle if you’re just starting and are overweight.
But unfortunately, if you still have a belly, unfortunately this additional muscle will be COMPLETELY INVISIBLE. It’ll be hidden beneath the fat.
And it will actually cause the fat to BULGE out – creating the optical illusion that you are actually more fat.
REASON 3: THEY’RE DANGEROUS WHEN THEY’RE EFFECTIVE
As I mentioned before, if you’re overweight and can only complete 5-20 crunches before you’re completely exhausted, then crunches theoretically might help you build that “hidden muscle” on your core.
But here’s the thing – this is actually when crunches are the MOST DANGEROUS.
If your core muscles are weak, then it’s going to be very hard to maintain proper form during your crunches. And if you’re using bad form, it’s only a matter of time before you end up with neck pain and lower back pain from your crunches.
I know dozens of people who’ve given themselves back or neck problems doing crunches or crunch-type exercises, and you probably do too.
REASON 4: THEY DON’T BUILD AB MUSCLE WHEN IT COUNTS
Once you’re already lean and in shape, crunches become safer. Unfortunately, they also become completely useless for building ab muscle.
Once you’re in shape, you will be able to do 50, 100, or even 200 crunches in a single set before you’re exhausted. And exercising with such little resistance is not going to build your ab muscles up at all.
Think about it: would you build up your biceps if you just did 200 curls with no weight – just your empty fist? Of course your wouldn’t. And for the same reason, doing 200 crunches will do nothing to put muscle on your abs.
REASON 5: CRUNCHES DON’T BUILD FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH
The crunching motion is extremely unnatural, and is very rarely used in any real situation. If you want to feel stronger in your every day life, or develop more athleticism, crunches won’t help you out.
Mixed martial arts fighters have known this for some time. Georges St. Pierre, the UFC welterweight champion, probably has the best physique of any fighter in the world. His trainer was recently interviewed for an article I was reading, and he said that Georges NEVER does crunches.
REASON 6: THEY’RE TIME INEFFICIENT
You’re busy, and you don’t have all day to work out. You need to figure out a way to get the maximum amount of stimulation for your muscles, in the minimum amount of time.
And crunches are not very efficient with time. It can take you 3 minutes or more to do 200 crunches, and another 3 to recover from that. Where else, with an exercise like isometric leg raises you could get a superior workout in 30 seconds or less.
REASON 7: THEY DIDN’T WORK IN THE PAST – THEY’RE NOT GOING TO WORK NOW
If you’ve done crunches in the past, ask yourself how they’ve worked for you. Did they get you six pack abs?
If they didn’t, remember that the clinical definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. If crunches didn’t work for you in the past, they’re NEVER going to work.
It’s time to abandon what’s failed you in the past, and to move on to more effective ways of abdominal training.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING INSTEAD OF CRUNCHES:
First of all, you need to be following a workout program that trains your TOTAL BODY. This is the only way to lose weight, so that your abs will become visible in the first place.
Second, you need to also have a NUTRITION plan in place that’s realistic and easy to follow. Without this, NO training regimen will do you any good – especially crunches.
And finally, you need to learn the abdominal exercises that are much more effective than crunches in building a six pack. Exercises like the dynamic plank workout we included in Six Pack Shortcuts, which build the muscle on your abs through increasing their stabilizing strength.
You also need to learn “explosive” style ab exercises, such as the medicine ball slam, the barbell twist, and mountain climbers. These exercises are actually MUCH safer than crunches, and much more effective.
[Ed. Note: A few years ago, Mike Chang decided that he wanted to help others change their life through fitness the same way he’d changed his. Since then, he’s trained hundreds of guys to get abs using his unique system, and kept refining it and improving it over time. Six Pack Shortcuts is designed to get you a ripped body and six pack abs in just 12 weeks. To get started click here.]