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Abdominal Crunches Are/Are Not a Safe and Effective Exercise

Schoenfeld, Brad J. PhD, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D, CSPS*D, FNSCA; Kolber, Morey J. PT, PhD, CSCS*D

Section Editor(s): Galpin, Andrew J. PhD, CSCS, NCSA-CPT

Strength & Conditioning Journal: December 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 6 - p 61–64
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000263
Columns: Point/Counterpoint
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ABSTRACT THE ABDOMINAL CRUNCH IS A WELL-KNOWN EXERCISE PERFORMED BY GENERAL AND ATHLETIC POPULATIONS FOR THE PURPORTED BENEFITS OF IMPROVING FITNESS ATTRIBUTES, SPORT PERFORMANCE, AND CORE MUSCLE FUNCTION. DESPITE THE BENEFITS, PARTICIPATION MAY INCREASE ONE'S RISK FOR LOW BACK PAIN. WHILE A CLEAR VERDICT ON THE RISK-TO-BENEFIT RATIO REMAINS ELUSIVE, A DISCUSSION OF THE AVAILABLE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE (OR LACK THEREOF) SHOULD GIVE PRACTITIONERS THE ABILITY TO DETERMINE THE UTILITY OF THIS EXERCISE FOR THEIR CIRCUMSTANCE. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. VISIT NSCA-SCJ.COM TO WEIGH IN ON THE POINT/COUNTERPOINT QUICK POLL.

1Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, Bronx, New York; and

2Department of Physical Therapy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and

3Boca Raton Orthopaedic Group, Boca Raton, Florida

The purpose of the Point/Counterpoint Column is to provide a respectful and balanced discussion in relation to controversial or current topics in the fields of strength and conditioning, nutrition, and human performance.

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COLUMN EDITOR: Andrew J. Galpin, PhD, CSCS, NCSA-CPT

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

Brad J. Schoenfeldis an Assistant Professor in the Exercise Science Program at CUNY Lehman College and Director of their Human Performance Laboratory.

Morey J. Kolberis a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Nova Southeastern University.

© 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association