Rethinking The Reverse Crunch…as well

The reverse crunch has gained some attention lately, mainly because it is thought as a way to reverse the anterior tilt on the pelvis that we see so often in athletes, clients, and pretty much everyone.  The basic idea is that if you live in anterior pelvic tilt, the lumbar erectors and hip flexors are toned (a word basically meaning that the muscle is constantly turned “on”) which then causes inhibition of the abdominals and glutes.  Also popularly known as Janda’s lower-crossed syndrome.

But is the reverse crunch reversing the anterior pelvic tilt?  I am not at bay to answer but there are some issues to address or think of…

  • First, can they perform the movement at the hips while maintaining neutral spine, which would fall in-line with the joint-by-joint philosophy.  For those not familiar, we want mobile (and of course stable) hips with a stable lumbar spine (no movement).  If so, that is awesome but if the tilt becomes too excessive that the core cannot remain stiff enough (what we want) to prevent the lumbar movement then it becomes a no-no!
  • Other ideas:  If we want to ultimately decrease tone in the lumbar erectors & hip flexors while giving back motor control/stability/activation for the obliques/abdominals & glutes would we want to perform a movement that “looks” like it does the opposite?  Look at the reverse crunch–hip flexion causing more tone to the hip flexors, inhibition of the glutes as a result of that full flexion.  I guess it does lie in how you do it, but I can see where the movement can go awfully wrong.

Either way, I think you will not go wrong with good anti-core movements and an even a bigger reason to have glute contraction in the presence of the core stability movements we do like front planks, side planks, etc…If that does not make sense, look at people who do push-ups, the majority of the time they have their hips sag or their is a huge low back arch which is demonstrating that they are getting stability from their lumbar erectors and hip flexors.  We want abdominals, and glutes.

Cheers,

Matt



Categories: Core Training, Strength Training

Tags: , , ,

4 replies

  1. As someone who “lives in anterior pelvic tilt”, I am not sure what you are saying. Are you saying planks good or planks with glute contraction good? And what is a good anti-core movement?

    Thanks

    Daniela

    • Daniela,
      I am saying planks with glute contraction are best.
      Anti-core movements are those where the lumbar spine stays stable, even in the presence of possible movements, things such as
      front planks (ton of variation here), farmers walks/side plank variations (anti-lateral flexion to prevent side-bending), 1/2 kneeling belly presses (anti-rotation)

      Does this make sense?

      -matt

  2. Any thoughts on leg raise (supine) with glute contraction too to replace those reverse crunches? Or is this perhaps too great an emphasis on the hip flexor muscles?

    Ta,

    Jamie

    • I am not sure what you mean with glute contraction..? Do you mean single leg raise keeping down leg straight and glute contracted? I think the reverse crunch is probably a bit riskier or maybe simply not the best option because people need to very conscious of not flexing the lumbar spine past their neutral which can be hard to understand. I know that great strength coaches use it, and probably apply it well, I am just not sure. I think we can recruit the whole core with really good cueing and coaching for our anti-movement. With a single leg lowering, it may be a bit easier to keep neutral spine because you can tell the client to keep the hands under the lower back and teach them to end at a point where they feel the lumbar spine would just about start to round..This is different for everyone.

      Hopefully this helps..let me know what you think,
      Matt

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