Six Pack Abs – Without Turning Into a Hunchback

December 8, 2008

Do yourself a favor and drop crunches, reverse crunches, situps, machine crunches and other spine-crushing movements out of your routine.

Not only will these movements weaken your spinal column, you very well may wind up with poor posture. There may be some benefit to doing crunches for 3-6 months, but after that it is time to move on and never look back.

six pack abs woman

[Here is an example of a woman with nice flat abs. I don’t think women should aim for a ripped six pack…sleek abs with slight definition is the way to go!]

Crunches Are Like Tequila Shots!

Both crunches and Tequila get the job done, until you have a few bad experiences. Seriously…crunches will give you decent looking abs, but there is a safer and superior approach to getting toned abs.

If you must do crunches, then limit it to maybe your first 3-6 months of training and then eliminate them from your workout (I’ll explain). If you must do Tequila shots…then go to Cancun, Ibiza, Vegas, Bondi Beach, Leicester Square or wherever the party spot is in your country and get it out of your system as well…then switch over to beer and wine like a sensible adult.

Ab Isolation Movements Have A Short Life Span

According to Olympic Strength and Conditioning Coach, Charles Poliquin…if an athlete isolates their abs with crunches they will not see any improvements in their ab strength after 6-8 weeks…

“Some of these guys can claim all these poundages used in ab training, but it’s actually the psoas doing the work. If you truly isolate the abs, after six to eight weeks an athlete will plateau the rest of his life.”

So Ab Isolation movements aren’t where it is at!

The Two Main Functions of the Abdominal Muscles

I’ll keep this simple…

  •  Rectus Abdominus – flexes the spinal column forward 30 degrees. Any additional movement beyond 30 degrees is caused by the muscles that flex your hips
  • Transversus Abdominus stabilize the upper body and helps keep your posture

Almost Everything You Do Works the Stabilizing Muscles

When you run these muscles engage to keep your shoulders above your hips. Without these muscles your upper body would tip over at some point. Same with doing an exercise like a standing shoulder press, which is a good indirect ab movement. Your abs have to work hard to insure that your body doesn’t fall forward or backward when you are raising and lowering the weight.

Same with doing an exercise like a standing shoulder press, which is a good indirect ab movement. Your abs have to work hard to insure that your body doesn’t fall forward or backward when you are raising and lowering the weight.

Your abs have to work hard to insure that your body doesn’t fall forward or backward when you are raising and lowering the weight.

Do Crunches for a Short Period of Time Then Maintain…

It won’t take long to reach the maximum benefit from crunches. I would say six months tops. The great thing is once you build your ab density and mind-to-muscle link with crunches, it takes very little to maintain dense abs. I haven’t done a crunch or any other “spine

The great thing is once you build your ab density and mind-to-muscle link with crunches, it takes very little to maintain dense abs. I haven’t done a crunch or any other “spine flexation” movement of any type for over 10 years and my abs look better than ever.

How Do You Maintain Six Pack Abs Without Crunches?

It is simple to maintain muscle density in any muscle by performing isometrics. This is basically flexing the muscle without any movement involved. The nice thing about isometrics is that you will build muscle density without increasing the size of the muscle…this is exactly what you are aiming for if you want amazing looking abs.

The nice thing about isometrics is that you will build muscle density without increasing the size of the muscle…this is exactly what you are aiming for if you want amazing looking abs. Have you ever seen a person with ripped six pack abs, but their mid-section sticks out past their chest…this is what you want to

Have you ever seen a person with ripped six pack abs, but their mid-section sticks out past their chest…this is what you want to avoid. Here are my two favorite Isometric Ab exercises.

There Are Other Ab Exercises That Use the Same Principles

There are many exercises that force the body to contract the abs hard without flexing the spine forward. Here is a creative one!

[This looks like an amazing ab exercise, but the video makes me laugh. It has some seriously jacked up disco music playing in the background (would be good in a house club, but kind of inappropriate in a gym setting). I admit it…the whole thing has an odd vibe and you can’t look cool doing this, but it would work the abs well.]

One Final Reminder About Ab Definition

You won’t see your abs if your body fat is too high. Do what it takes to lower your body fat if you want a nice defined mid-section. Your diet needs to be on point and your workouts should include a either HIIT or circuits of some sort after your brief resistance training workouts.

The Day I Decided to Drop Crunches For Good

I don’t talk about this much on this site, but I experienced a really bad back injury about 18 years ago. I did a 3 part post that goes into great detail why I believe crunches will weaken your back over time.

I also discussed the strategy that has helped me remain pain-free for the past 4 years. I posted this a long time ago, so I thought I would link to it in this post.

Conquering Low Back Pain While Getting Fit…Part I

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

lolfitness December 8, 2008 at 5:26 am

I’m a woman and I wouldn’t mind a six pack myself 🙂 But not enough to get my bodyfat% that low. My favourite abs exercises are hanging raises, with progressions up to window wipers. It’s a long road but I do feel they work my abs very well.

Adam Steer, Better Is Better December 8, 2008 at 11:28 am

Hey Rusty,

It’s great that this post should come up today. I was in the middle of editing a video clip for a post about training the abs as an “anti-extender” rather than a flexor!! The exercise example I use is a Clubbell Flag Press. You can check the post out here.

Thanks for calling attention to this very important truth.


Adam Chen December 8, 2008 at 11:35 am

Great post Rusty. There are still people out there believing in the old myth that getting ripped is about doing immense amount of crunches and getting toned is by lifting lighter weights 15+ times. Honestly, the truth all boils down to what people hate to do which is intense cardio and low calorie diets.

Caleb - Double Your Gains December 8, 2008 at 12:05 pm


Great advice on not doing crunches… and something most people overlook “muscle density”… for getting your abs to really show.

That kettlebell exercises looks “interesting” might give it a whirl…


Katie December 8, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Is the quickest way to low body fat simply cutting carbs and cutting calories to about 10x your ideal weight?

Matt December 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm


I came across your website last week and i’ve been hooked ever since. I must of gone through every post already. Being a big guy(6’3″ 250 14% BF) I was always influenced to get bigger and bigger. Most of the websites and information out there are geared towards bodybuilding. I would rather achieve the look that you talk about and I am working my way down. My goal is 8% bodyfat and now with you website and information its only a matter of time before I get there. Thank you.


Son of Grok December 8, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Never been a big fan of crunches. Planks are my new best friend.

The SoG

Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit December 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Hey Rusty,

Great post! Sometimes I even find myself doing ab crunches because I just don’t want to think of a more creative way to work my abs. But this is a great reminder of why we should be staying creative!

All the Best,

Andrew R

Scott Kustes - Modern Forager December 8, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Great post. I love squats, deadlifts, and such for abdominal work. They require major stabilization of the core to hold the weight without crumbling the spine. Overhead squats are particularly potent. Unfortunately with my wonky shoulder, I can’t put myself in a position where I might have to bail backwards.

And please don’t insult Metallica by calling it death metal anymore. That’ Master Of Puppets and it’s damn good stuff. 😀

Scott Kustes

Ron December 8, 2008 at 6:09 pm

“Have you ever seen a person with ripped six pack abs, but their mid-section sticks out past their chest…this is what you want to avoid.”

Yes! Me! How can I get rid of this!?

Ron December 8, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Also, the video with the kettle ball (the second video)…

That’s something I’ve added to my routine, but standing on the Bosu ball flat side up (which I think actually feels more like real surfing would than my indo board)! That’s what I was talking about when I said “Woodcutter chops.” Good to see a video of it to help my form. Wonder if the kettle ball is more effective than the medicine ball I’ve been using.

L Snow December 8, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Music was master of puppets from metallica in second vid good song other music sucks. I agree i have never liked crunches or situps that much

Troy December 8, 2008 at 7:24 pm

i am glad you got me into planks…its the best!!!!! no more crunches for me!!

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips December 8, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Thanks for the post Rusty. My ab routine is in serious need of freshening up. I’ve just been performing crunches and the bicycle week on week because similarly to Andrew I haven’t thought of more creative ways to work my abs.

Dhruv December 8, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Hey Rusty,

Sweet post. Now, I remember in an earlier post you had explained that diet and cardio constituted abut 90% of the mechanics for achieving six-pack abs, and I suppose along with well-constructed ab workouts, that process that can be perfected for increased muscle definition.

I do, however, have a major question regarding this process of Diet + Cardio (HIIT I assume) along with some ab workouts. As a college student, I do have to spend a lot of my time studying and working, and so a low calorie diet has been hard–it’s pretty tough to concentrate on a calculus problem when your stomach’s rumbling. I have been trying to eat fiber mainly through fruits to keep full, but I feel as though I’m taking in too many carbs that way. Do you know of a possible solution that would let me maintain about a 1500 calorie daily diet given my situation?

Thanks a ton!

Jon December 9, 2008 at 12:50 am

yeck…That guy in the second (last) video is so disgusting….haha sorry.

Sara December 9, 2008 at 1:02 pm


I don’t know about you, but I believe that certain things come to you just when you need them, or are ready to see them. I love this site, it is exactly the information I need to reach my fitness goals. Every entry I read I’m shocked at how useful it is and can’t wait to experiment! Planks kick my butt … as well as my abs and shoulders. If I can only do 45-60 seconds at a time, how many should I do and how much rest between?

Mike OD - IF Life December 9, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Great post….as I always like to say “Abs are Made in the Kitchen”!

Yash December 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Hey Rusty
What’s your take on reverse crunches? either lying down and raising the legs toward the chest or lying on a bench holding the bench behind your head for leverage? I haven’t personally tried these since i’m sticking to planks, but i have seen some people doing them and i was planning on throwing them in at some point since i feel like if i return to crunches/non-iso ab exercises every once in a while i can feel a little bit of a burn, which i’m probably mistaking for progress.

Also, one of my all time FAVORITE exercises is wind sprints, either tabata or just straight up 100 meter dashes repeated 5 or 6 times. It will really pump you up, and the next day, you WILL feel a burn in your obliques. If you haven’t done any direct ab work in a while, prepare to feel it for a few days. also, good call on the standing shoulder presses, its a regular in my routine and when i try going heavier i can feel my abs keeping me upright.


3ller December 9, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Nice post.

I did the Crazy 8 today. I managed two circuits. By the time i was fini5shed i felt like i’ve gone through a wood chipper. The sound of my thumping heart reminds me of Wanted.
Anyway I think i’m only 15/17 pounds away from my goal weight. The fat started coming off from the obliques. I’m lookin better than ever.


Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit December 10, 2008 at 2:35 am

I hear you Tom… this site is great for getting solid ideas on workouts that you would never have even thought of!

Thanks for that Rusty!

All the Best,

Andrew R

Amit December 10, 2008 at 3:14 am

Rusty, great tips all the time including this one. I have a (probably elementary) question though. I am new to the world of fitness, being working out over the past 6 months, my workout consisting mainly of weight training and a bit of cardio ~ a 75/25 ratio. My goal is to achieve maximum muscle definition, a ripped GQ look without becoming too bulky. Should I increase my cardio proportion? If yes, would it lead to muscle destruction and make me look skinny? What should be the ideal weight training to cardio proportion to achieve the look which you rightly advocate ? Will doing more of cardio help me or prevent me from getting ripped ?

Jonar December 10, 2008 at 3:27 am

Dear Mr. Rusty,

I have been reading your blog for quite some time and I’m really thankful for all those information. You see I use to be very fat at 68 kg (my height is 5’3″…yes I’m short and I’m asian). But after 10 months, I have lose 10.5 kg. And yes, with my current built, no one would suspect that I use to be obese. My problem is the subcutaneous fat in my abdominal area…it seems I can’t lose it! According to my friend, who use to work as fitness instructor, only liposuction can remove it. I’m already lean except for this area and I wish to see my 6 pack. Please help me! December 10, 2008 at 10:01 am

I really like the concept of not having to do crunches all the time, and the way you’ve explained it here it really makes sense. I’ll have to pass this one on to my wife as I think she’ll love the idea!

Helder December 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Crunches? what is that? Kidding:) it’s been so long since i’ve done them for the last time, it’s like you say Rusty, move on and never look back.

All i do is planks and vaccum stomach (dragon breath) it was very popular among bodybuilders in the past, until the 70’s, Frank Zane use to do them a lot.

Those exercises in the second video, i got to try them, i knew them from an article of Scott Abel in T-Nation, he also defends the same you do in what comes to ab training, planks, push ups, chin ups, and those from the second video

Also remember that anyone doing standing overhead presses of any kind, if you have the correct posture you’ll be working your abs well too.

I believe abs are to be defined and hard, not bulky, don’t hypertrophy your abs guys and girls

Good advice as always Rusty

Helder December 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Ron the breath of the dragon, like Rusty calls it, might help you reach your goal, that exercise is known for reducing the waist, because it works the inner abs and those keep your waist tight.

Never use weight on ab exercises, and do just planks and breath of the dragon.

if you do back squats and deadlifts, maybe you should cut them for a while, because in some people they tend to grow the abs

good luck

admin December 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm


Great way to explain in more detail what I am writing about here. I love the videos on your site by the way. Thanks for including a link that talks about this same principle in a slightly different way.

Adam Chen,

Yep…intense HIIT or circuit style cardio and strategic low calorie diets are the key to defined abs.


Be careful with that kettlebell exercise, it looks effective but also looks like an exercise with high injury potential. Actually both of those exercises should be done with caution.


Some carbs are great like fruits and vegetables…limit refined carbs and grains. I think a great diet is based around fruits, veggies, meat, some dairy and healthy fats. is the nutrition blog that I recommend reading along with this site. Scott goes into a bit more detail when it comes to nutrition.


Good deal buddy. It is preferable to look like James Bond…ripped and in incredible shape, but still look good in a Tux on a yacht. Too much muscle makes guys look goofy in nice clothes.


Yep…the drummer from Metallica ruined Napster and made it a sketchy situation to download free MP3’s. I will never forgive them for that. Okay…so artists probably do deserve to be paid for their music, but Napster was a monster back in the day…you could find any audio ever recorded. They are talented artists, although I’m more of an indie rock guy…I can’t deny their ability to throw a seriously rocking concert.


Concentrate on vacuums and get the body fat down a bit…you will be fine.


Take down a large apple or two and 2-3 large glasses of water to get full and stop all stomach hunger. The pectin will expand in your stomach and give you a full feeling with only around 60-80 calories per apple.


Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad to get new readers to the site. If you can do 45 second planks then do them 3 times. Once you can work up to 60 seconds, drop the sets down to two. Work your way up to 2 sets of 90 seconds…then just do one set of a 2 minute plank.


Abs are made in the kitchen…good call.


I love wind sprints as well. Good call. I would avoid reverse crunches (unless you just want to do them for 2-3 months). Over time you will find that they will tighten up your hip flexors and compromise your posture…not good for someone who does a lot of sprinting. Not bad for the short term though.


I still get my butt kicked by the Crazy 8 Workout! After my 2nd time through, I have to be mentality tough and insure I don’t talk myself out of the 3rd set. I’m glad you are making such great progress!


If you have a lot of muscle already then you could do 75% HIIT or interval cardio and 25% lifting. If you are maintaining muscle while leaning down then a 50-50 split would be fine. If you need to gain muscle while slowly losing body fat then 75% lifting and 25% HIIT or interval work. Try 50-50 for a while and adjust depending upon your needs.


You can lose that, but it will be the last to go. The last 5 pounds of fat can take as long as it took for you to lose the first 15-20 pounds. The closer you get to you target weight the slower it will take. Keep pushing for the next 4-5 months and you will reach your goal. There will be light at the end of the tunnel and you will get a 6-pack without surgery.


Great advice as always buddy. Appreciate it…and thanks for being a regular contributor from the early days of when my site was new and unheard of!

Drinking Green Tea and almost ready to do a Crazy 8 workout in my apartment.

Wish me luck!


Yavor December 12, 2008 at 4:47 am

Yeah man,

I also find it tough to talk myself into doing the Turbulence Training circuits for the second or third time.

But that’s how we know it works.

I remember back in high school I felt like quitting many times after Basketball practice. Especially at the beginning of season when our coach (and Dean of Students) made us run suicides to get in shape.

And we did get in shape 🙂 So if it is tough on you, mentally and physically, it means it is good stuff.


Helder December 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

Your welcome Rusty, your blog is very important for a lot of people, this is where people who train to look good and healthy can come and feel at home, unlike most bodybuilding/powerlifting sites where all we get is criticism and that “macho” steroid taker talk about getting huge and lifting to impress other guys.

This is a place where i feel at home, and where a lot of people can learn and share, all with the same goal in mind, looking good, being healthy and enjoying Life

Super-Trainer December 14, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Hey! Just found this site from a post at – I’ll definitely be checking back soon, as you guys have a lot of solid content here – and yeah, crunches are so last decade – lol –

Abril December 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Just found your site and love it! I used to have flat abs by just the simple fact of commuting via my bike. I also used to add in some pushups and maybe some tricep dips at a nearby park before ending my ride, that was it for my workout. I used to date a personal trainer and he couldn’t believe that I never did ab work yet had flat abs.

Well four years and a baby later I wanted to get those abs back, started running and hired a personal trainer and he told me to cut out my running which I did because he is a personal trainer and knows what he’s talking about…yeah, right. After 6 months of no results, I quit the gym and designed my own workout…similar to what I’ve been reading about on this site (Hiit?).

Lost the pounds, abs are starting to come out. Still don’t have the definition I want so I think I’ll try the plank suggested above.

Dan December 15, 2008 at 12:18 am


Great call on planks.

Never heard of vacuums (dragon breathe) before. I’ll check them out though.

What is your feeling on fat burners? Any reputable ones out there? I know some people do the ECA combo.

I’m 6’2″ and 175 pounds, but still have some fat. I want to get my BF% down to about 7-8%.

Thanks man. Keep up the good work.


Josh Morrow December 15, 2008 at 1:51 am

You hit the nail on the head with this post! I tell my clients all the time that conventional ab training is inferior to core exercises for ab development.

Ron December 15, 2008 at 5:09 pm

I wish there was a video for dragon breath (vacuums). Think I’m just more of a visual learner. If you find any good ones, let me know!

admin December 16, 2008 at 2:15 pm


This type of workout does make you mentally tough. The good thing is that it makes lifting weights feel like a vacation. I still believe that traditional strength training and lifting is the easiest form of exercise…even maxing out with a heavy singles…which makes me laugh, because guys in the free-weight area give off a vibe that they are doing the tough workouts. I love free-weight training, but consider the easiest part of my workout.


Thanks buddy. I just want a friendlier place for those who want to get in exceptional shape without looking “muscle-bound”. Most women don’t even want to look as muscular as a typical fitness model…they would rather have a physique like Megan Fox, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie, etc. Guys for the most part would rather have a build like Daniel Craig, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, etc. There are some guys who would rather get as big as possible. Although, they are in the minority…the majority of fitness sites focus on the big look. I felt I had to set this site up…there was a need for this.


That was cool for to list my site as one of the top fitness sites on the Internet. There are a few sites on that list that were new to me, so I need to go back and check those as well. So much to read…so little time.


Planks will do wonders for your mid section. It sounds like you know exactly what to do to lose that baby weight. Running works well if done properly…don’t listen to your trainer. I live near a place in Seattle with a 3 mile path around it and see some women in great shape running around the lake. It works for them.


The less you depend upon pills the better you will do. The only time I would recommend any pills is possibly for 3-4 weeks leading up to a special event…maybe to lose that last little bit of fat (3-4 pounds). I lean towards staying away from most pills, because you can get as lean as you want without them…but some probably help a little. Make sure they are safe and don’t take anything long-term.


You sound like a good personal trainer. Thanks for the compliment.


The Breath of Dragon is a little diffferent than Vaccuums. I’ll search for a video.


BurritoKid December 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm

do you use the incline on the treadmill when doing HIIT?

kristin December 25, 2008 at 11:09 am

hi rusty, i love your blog. lots of great stuff in here. i’m really excited that you’re focusing on getting lean, toned, and slim rather than huge and bulky. just a few questions – i’m a 20/f/5’3/120lbs. i would like to lose some fat and tone up. my plan is to do weight training (machines) and HIIT 3-4 days a week. and then slower cardio for an hour 2-3 days a week. eating wise i was thinking: eggs or yogurt for breakfast; salad for lunch (maybe sometime of protein on the side, like cottage cheese?); then lean meat and lots of veggies for dinner; snacks would be almonds, fruit, string cheese. overall, about 800-1100 cals/day. how does this sound? any thing i should change?

also, is there a way i can slim down my muscular thunder thighs??

admin December 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm


I set it at a 2.0 incline. I read a study showing that this is what works the same muscles as regular running. It obviously isn’t as tough as regular running, but as close as you can get on the treadmill.


This looks like a solid short term strategy. Many people would freak at the idea of someone eating less than 1,000 calories a day. It works extremely well, but just as a short term deal (2-3 weeks on and a week off). Tom Cruise recently dropped 10 pounds by eating 1,200 calories per day for 5 weeks. In fact one of the main books I recommend on this site, the Rapid Fat Loss Handbook, is based upon scientific “crash dieting”.

As far as losing muscular thunder thighs…avoid all direct leg lifts and focus on cardio that makes you breath hard without creating “a pump” in your legs. So things like running on the treadmill are good, but avoid the exercise bike for a while.

Hope that makes sense!


Zachs January 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Hi Rusty,

Im 19years old and heavily into soccer. I have big trials coming up soon and i am training hard yet see no results in terms of gaining weight. I am 5’9 and weight 10st2 or around 140lbs. I would like to get up to 150lbs and get more ripped in the chest and abs. Can you tell me what I have to do please!?

Chelsea January 24, 2009 at 1:06 am

Hey Rusty!

So I’ve been trying to get a six pack that is defined, but not ripped. And I’ve been doing ab exercises for a while. I have a strong core, yet no definition. I have been doing planks for a month and a half now along with a few other crunch-like exercies. And my BMI is 18%, but my question is that I know that six pack is there, but how do I coerce it to come out? I mean, do I need to lose some of that little weight down there, even if there’s basically nothing to lose?


tulsa28 March 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Rusty, I’m new to your site and soaking up everything I can, its great. I have been lifting heavy for the last 5 yrs. or so and started doing IF about 9 months ago. I have dropped 10 pounds easily, sitting at 5’4″ ,120, female. I actually want a little six pack, and probably have more definition there than most girls would like ,seeing lower ab veins. My question is on the video with the kettleball/woodchopper. I don’t want to make my waist thicker, just more definition, would this exercise cause that? I have dropped most crunch type moves and started using the plank, but I can’t seem to give up my weighted crunches on a ball! Love them. Also trying more cardio per your suggestion, but I hate it!

JR May 18, 2009 at 9:56 am

Great article! I also agree that planks are the best for abs!

Elliot Wilson September 28, 2009 at 3:16 am


What is you opinion on sit ups? I used to avoid sit ups because “they’re bad for your back”, but for the past year I’ve started doing them again and find them to be way more effective than crunches. They are much more of a compound movement, and, they replicate a movement which you’re actually going to be doing in normal life – getting out of bed, getting off the ground after fooling around with your kids (which makes it useful in my opinion).


Steven Ponec December 26, 2009 at 7:22 pm

So are you saying it’s good to do crunches for a little while? My brother did crunches for many months. Now he doesn’t need much to maintain his ab definition. So – crunches for a little while? I’m just starting to work out again and I’d love some better ab definition. In fact, that is my main goal!

julie July 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

The article was so helpful for me since I ‘m still on the process of finding ways ,tips and advice in getting those ideal six pack abs.Gotta have to try this on my own.So, excited to see the result.

david February 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Very funny: crunches are like tequila shots! Good choice with HIIT training. Very powerful way to lose weight. Good luck.

Sam- Look Like An Athlete March 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

It is very true that abs are involved in everything you do. For example, when running short intense sprints you will definitely feel your abs tighten. The crazy thing is that the next day or two you will likely have sore abs even though you never even worked on them with any exercise.
So doing traditional crunches really isn’t the most ideal for getting solid six pack abs.

Trey- Scholarships For Single Mothers June 9, 2011 at 1:22 am

I always work the abs really good when I do pushups balancing on a swiss ball. It actually works really really well.

Shad - June 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

It’s really hard to make people understand that crunches are not the first thing they have to do for a six pack. Really funny when you see people doing 100 crunches daily and wondering why they don’t have a six pack yet. June 14, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Good point. Many people concentrate only on abs training and forget about body fat level. You should keep you body fat below 10% (for men) or 15% (for women) to see your six pack.

Randy - Daily Fitness Tips February 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

Yes, diet is probably the biggest factor in being able to SEE your abs but you do have to exercise them to develop them. But certain exercises do target the lower abs better then others. Crunches with bodyweight is still relatively safe unless you already have a weak or injured spine. Anything where you lift your legs up will target the lower abs and exercises like crunches will tend to develop the upper abs.

Holly April 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

I can definitely see how crunches would be bad, but does this apply to sit-ups as well? I’ve seen that everyone on here thinks planks are best, and I don’t disagree with that, planks are amazing, but I’m in the military and we really don’t have much of a choice in opting out of situps. Even if it’s not in the workout routine, we still need to do it at least twice a year for our PRT tests and when it comes down to it, the best way to get ready for the tests is to have your body used to the exercise.. And I know when I do situps, I keep my back straight, so that shouldn’t be as bad as crunches, right?

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