Thanks for your input. I take some classes at my local YMCA and at the end there is ab work. We do a variety of crunches, but the bicycle crunches hurt my back the most and I cannot keep up with the class. I am able to do the other moves without back pain. Years ago I could do bicycle crunches, so I think I'm leaning toward my core being so weak.
11/29/12 8:33 A
In my strength training class, we do about 15- 20 minutes of a wide variety of exercises to target all muscles groups of the core, including obliques. Of course bicycle crunches are in there. We do around 350 - 400 of these exercises thrice weekly.
The point is you might try mixing it up. SP videos have ideas for core exercises, and there are several we do in my Yoga and Pilates classes. We also use a ball for many of them. As noted in previous post, check your form. Keep the low back right on the floor, not allowing for it to arch.
Firstly, there is little point in doing a whole lot of crunches. Crunches don't burn belly fat - fat burning is always an all-body process. So rather than focussing on the number of crunches, focus on the quality by making them as challenging as possible. Do them slowly (3 seconds for the 'up' movement, and 3 seconds for the down).
Secondly, although bicycle crunches are better than regular crunches, they still only work a limited range of muscles. You are much better off with something like planks, which works a much broader range of muscles - including strengthening the back. And planks are generally a lot easier on the back than crunches.
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11/29/12 5:06 A
make sure your lower back isn't arching off the floor..if that means not lowering your extended leg to be parallel with the floor.
"Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us." - Deena Kastor
Do you do other core work while lying on your back without experiencing pain? If so, then I would say your form is wrong.
Back pain can be caused by a lot of things. It could be that your ab muscles are weak, so you are using other muscles to compensate and that is causing the pain. It could be that you need to do core work on a more supportive surface like a Pilates or yoga mat.
11/29/12 1:02 A
When I do bicycle crunches my lower back burns so badly that I have to quit long before I think my abs need to. I think I'm in pretty good cardiovascular shape, but I do need to work on toning up. Do you think that my back is burning because my core is weak or do you think my form is wrong?
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