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Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip - 04/05/2005


A trainer told me that doing crunches everyday would eventually lead to lower back problems. I thought crunches would be great for abdominal success! Whatís the scoop? ( Sara, Rosedale)

Your trainer is partially correct, but you need to understand the reasons behind that statement. Research studies show that in order to do a proper abdominal, you draw in the navel towards your spine to engage the Transverse Abdominis (the inner ab muscles which run horizontal under the Rectis Abdominis). Next perform the spinal flexion and then do the crunch motion. Using this method, you have greater stabilization and less stress is put on the lower spinal muscles while you engage the working muscles in the crunch.

To put it simply you should be concentrating on a good all-around core strength training program and resting in between workouts. Abdominals are muscles and need to rest like any other muscle in the body in order to develop.

Once again, draw in the navel to stabilize the inner workings. Flex the spine which creates the crunch and exhale on exertion. Abdominals performed properly will strengthen your lower back and prevent lower back aches.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on