What Happened to the Abdominal Crunch Machine?

If you are like me, you are probably wondering what happened to the old abdominal crunch machine that used to be across from the treadmills.  It was a well-used piece of equipment that was a great way to target your abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus specifically).

Crunch machine

Despite the fact that it was a popular machine and it targeted the core muscles, the most current exercise research has found that it might not be all that safe for your back.

Researchers now agree that repetitive flexion and extension motions of the spine have been correlated to an increased risk of low back injury.  The research is particularly strong when looking at the risk of disc herniations in adults.  Most exercise experts now recommend that people should stick to exercises that don’t put repetitive bending and twisting forces through the spine.The literature supports other, safer ways for us to target our abdominals such at leg lifts and planks, which allow the spine to stay still throughout the entirety of the exercise.

Leg Lift


So the next time that you look to use the abdominal crunch machine, consider trying a different abdominal exercise.  Your spine just might thank you!

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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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