Crunches Are Bad For Your Posture — These 2 Stretches Will Lengthen Your Tight Muscles
You may think the recipe for developing stronger abs is a ton of crunches, but the truth is, crunches aren't the best exercise to do if you want to improve your core strength.
Why Crunches Are Bad For Your Posture
"When we do crunches, it puts our body in a forward, hunched C-like pattern," Todd Sinett, kinesiologist, chiropractor, and the author of Sit-Ups Are Stupid & Crunches Are Crap, told POPSUGAR. The hunched position shortens, tightens, and overcontracts your abs, which can result in neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain, Sinett explained. Because of this, he recommends avoiding crunches "because they completely throw off the balance of the core and [the abdominal muscles] can become too tight."
Over time, exercises like crunches and poor posture can lead to a postural imbalance, which occurs when your spine isn't in alignment, he said. Imbalances can occur naturally due to conditions like scoliosis (a curvature of the spine), but according to Sinett, postural imbalance is typically caused by excessive flexion of the spine, also known as having forward posture. An example of this would be tight shoulders close to your ears and your back rounding — this is what you want to avoid.
Conversely, it's possible to have too much laxity and excessive arching of the back (also known as extension), which is a telltale sign of a weak core. "You don't want core imbalances, because core imbalances lead to postural issues, altered biomechanics (creating pain), weakness, and noncontact injuries," Sinett explained.
How to Improve Your Posture
There are a lot of things you can do to improve your posture, such as strengthening your muscles, doing yoga, and working with therapists who can provide you with an individualized plan to have you functioning at your best. You can also implement two simple stretches into your routine that will help you counteract tight abdominal muscles and excessive flexion of the spine and improve your posture. Check them out ahead.