Well, since the answer is yes, then… let me think… YES! I don’t really train my abdominals specifically. I incorporate them into ALL of my other actions if and when I’m able. It gives me greater stability and balance while becoming natually 2nd nature, so, when I need them to uphold their end, they can and will.
In my experience most people like to think that crunches are the only way to get the “firm” look in their abs for that six pack…however, I have found that isometric exercises such as the plank have helped not only improve the look of the rectus abdominus but the function by working the core as a whole. It’s all about risk versus reward in this situation. I would rather have my clients goal be more about the core with mountain climbers, planks, russian twists, etc. then crunches. I use them sparingly as there are many more exercises that can get the same benefit with less risk.
Yes you can. With what we know about functional anatomy doing crunches is like saying that preacher curls are functional. Its rediculous for anybody to still be doing crunches when the function of the core is stability and force transference Not to mention in the current postural crisis caused by the technology we now have, crunches only overemphasize upper cross syndrome. It flies in the face of current exercise science knowledge to do crunches.
There is a movement issue here that nobody is addressing. The rectus abdominus does not function by itself and should not be trained in isolation. The only time any type of isolation should be used is if there is a compensation due to a weakness in a movement pattern then go back to a functional integration movement pattern and train correctly.
I love this question!
I actually did a bunch of research in this area and presented on this topic to the undergraduate exercise science students at USF. I am also a living example of this (I do not do any crunches/abdominal exercises). Abdominal exercises are not required to tone your midsection. Most individuals have developed a rectus abdominis from daily activities, however they are merely covered with fat. Not to mention abdominal can only hypertrophy minimally as compared to other muscle structures. If your goal get a “six pack” or create a healthy core/mid section I would focus on isometrically contracting your core musculature during exercises. For other information regarding core/back/abdominals look into Dr. Stuart McGill’s research.
Fuel the Movement,