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Skip Navigation LinksHome > August 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 > To Crunch or Not to Crunch: An Evidence-Based Examination of...
Strength & Conditioning Journal:
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3182259d05
Article

To Crunch or Not to Crunch: An Evidence-Based Examination of Spinal Flexion Exercises, Their Potential Risks, and Their Applicability to Program Design

Contreras, Bret MA, CSCS1; Schoenfeld, Brad MSc, CSCS2

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Abstract

THE CRUNCH AND ITS MANY VARIATIONS HAVE LONG BEEN CONSIDERED A STAPLE EXERCISE IN FITNESS PROGRAMS. HOWEVER, RECENTLY, SOME FITNESS PROFESSIONALS HAVE QUESTIONED THE WISDOM OF PERFORMING FLEXION-BASED SPINAL EXERCISES, SUCH AS THE CRUNCH. CONCERNS ARE USUALLY PREDICATED ON THE BELIEF THAT THE SPINE HAS A FINITE NUMBER OF BENDING CYCLES AND THAT EXCEEDING THIS LIMIT WILL HASTEN THE ONSET OF VERTEBRAL DEGENERATION. THIS ARTICLE WILL SEEK TO REVIEW THE RESEARCH PERTAINING TO THE RISKS OF PERFORMING DYNAMIC SPINAL FLEXION EXERCISES AND WILL DISCUSS THE APPLICATION OF THESE FINDINGS TO EXERCISE PERFORMANCE.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association

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