Are Crunches Effective? | POPSUGAR Fitness

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To get the most out of your crunches, Ridge says it’s important to focus on your breath and on controlled movement/contraction of your ab muscles. Oftentimes when crunches are done absentmindedly, your hip flexors take over and pull on the lower back muscles, which may cause spinal issues down the road. Additionally, they disengage your abs, making the exercise far less effective.

“It’s all about awareness when performing crunches — or any exercise for that matter,” Ridge said.

Instead of crunches, Ridge prefers rotational movements for both abdominal function and aesthetics (aka a chiseled midsection). Some of his favorite moves for his clients include:

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