The better you are at keeping your back in a neutral position, the better you are at lowering your risk of injury.
I believe in that in the last 10 years we have learned that doing crunches on the mat are far from the most effective and efficient way to work your abdominal muscles.
I’ve heard a trainer comparing doing crunches to taking a credit card and bending it back and forth 5,000 times. Picture that credit card as your spine!! That really draws a picture doesn’t it!
Good book to read “The New Rules of Lifting For Abs”
It matters to me.
In the beginning of my career, I have been cuing people to ‘engage the core and protect (as I then thought) the lower back by pressing it against the mat’. I had a simpler view of the function of the abdominals and thought my prime objective was to create a tough ab workout.
I have now very much moved away from this view. As I watch a lot of people in a perpetual posterior pelvic tilt from all the sitting they do all day long, it does not make sense to me to reinforce this even further by strengthening in that very position.
Yes, I do want to challenge my clients and class participants. But my challenge for them is now to teach them to find a neutral spine and to maintain that position as they move their extremities further away from the core. This is no longer the ab workout of 100 crunches topped by another 100 to ‘work the obliques’ but a very deliberate education of proper alignment.