As a personal trainer, I often use weight training at a faster pace to get the heart rate up, keep it up, and strengthen. I also incorporate separate sessions of progressive overloads for strength. If you're not looking at exercise in this manner, then you are missing out on an important segment to avoid plateauing and building cardiovascular strength. I.e.- supersets, crossfit, HIIT. There are two schools of thought on crunches, and from the research I have done, combined with what I have experienced, as long as crunches are done properly, they can reduce back pain, strengthen the core and back, and yes.....get the heart rate up.
As for neutral alignment of the spine.....I have a back injury, one that occurred 9 years ago (along with 2 bulging discs in the lumbar region, and 3 in the cervical region) and my doctors wanted to do surgery on. I said no. I am at 99% funtionability due to how I train and rebuilt the area. If you don't strengthen the back muscles, you run an even higher risk of injury. This requires taking the spine out of neutral alignment. Don't get me wrong, planks are fantastic....but if you think that they are all you need to strengthen that region, you are dead wrong.
If you do leg lifts.....guess what?! That's a crunch. Same with the stability ball pass. That popular video Hip Hop Abs.....vertical crunches at a high speed.
Crunches are not bad as long as you don't overdo it. And people who are heavier need to avoid planking until they can build up enough strength in their lower back and abdominals to be able to support the weight.... they will most assuredly suffer an injury.
Give me a mountain and I will climb it. Give me a river and I will cross it. Give me a lake and I will swim it. Give me a coupon binder and I will show you how it's done! www.mrstightwadcq.blogspot.com
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