Done properly, most exercise is fine—but not always worth your effort. The country’s leading wellness experts reveal the moves they think are a waste of time—and what you should do instead.
There are plenty of ways to get better abs without doing crunches. Here’s another reason to avoid the exercise: "I believe that doing crunches in order to strengthen your core can be a huge waste of time. It’s much more effective to incorporate core exercises that target your full body to maximize effectiveness and time. A great example is a plank along with a one-legged pushup. Remember to keep your core activated the whole time." – Doriel Koblenz, personal and group fitness trainer and Microsoft corporate head coach
"The bicycle crunch can be a very effective move, but there are a lot of parts to coordinate and this is where some people run into trouble. Most times I see people moving through the motion too fast, just kicking their knees into their chest without any kind of core engagement or twist of their torsos. They miss all three parts of the abs that this movement is supposed to target. (The rectus and transverse abdominis along with the external obliques.)
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"To execute an effective bicycle crunch, lie on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your fingers or hands behind your head with elbows bent to the sides. Press the lower back into the ground and lift the chest up; the shoulders elevate just off the floor, engaging the core without dropping the chin to chest. Extend the left leg and, while the lower back stays connected to the floor, twist the torso to bring the left elbow and the right knee together. Repeat with the opposite limbs while the shoulders remain off the floor, the chest lifted, and the neck is long." – Amanda Rey, master instructor at SLT.