It may be hard to believe but these two standard ab exercises can defiantly be a killer on your low back.
Why, you ask? It's because they require spinal flexion (rounding your lower back to allow you to bend forward at the waist). What most people don't know is that research has shown spinal flexion the exact mechanism that causes herniated discs in your lower back. How many times have you heard, "I threw my back out the other day bending over to pick blank (you name an object and someone has said it) off the ground"?
So, it would make sense to eliminate traditional sit ups and crunches in your program as much as possible to reduce stress on your low back from spinal flexion.
Plus, you can't spot reduce fat from one area of your body over another. In the grand scheme of things you are better off spending the time you would normally spend on abs on compound bodyweight exercises or intervals. If you want to get great abs, you need to lose fat. It's that simple.
To get that flat stomach and sexy abs you used to have (or have always envied) use the following techniques:
Take half the time you were spending doing abs exercises, and do intervals instead.
Intervals are done by completing bouts of intense exercise (90% capacity) then an active rest (20-30% capacity) for double the time of the interval.
Spend the time that you had allocated to your abs training and add any of the exercises that work your abs without causing spinal flexion. These include mountain climber variations, stability ball exercises, and many more.
Keep your abs braced while completing all of your workouts so that you work your abs in every exercise that you do.
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