A question almost as old as time itself.., maybe not. However, many people may ponder which exercise may be the best, crunches or sit ups. To understand which one may be the best we first need to be able to differentiate between the two.
The Crunch: The Sit Up:
Looking at the images, they are both very similar techniques involving raising the upper body off the floor. Laying on your back with feet planted and knees bent. With sit ups you may need assistance securing your feet, either by hooking them on something or having someone holding them. For crunches you only need to bring your shoulders up off the ground. With sit ups you need to bring the whole of your back up off the floor.
Obviously both exercises engage the abdominal muscles, however, sit ups engage the tibialis anterior, this is a muscle found at the front of the lower leg. This muscle acts as the stabiliser muscle whilst executing a sit up. It’s quite apparent that sit ups use more muscles than crunches.Although sit ups may engage more muscles whilst executing, it doesn’t necessarily deem it the champion of crunches vs sit ups. When looking at the health risks of the exercises, there is a strong connection between sit ups and back pain. During execution the thigh muscle contracts tilting the pelvis back and forth. This pelvic movement increases compressive forces on the disks in your spine. Hence deeming it a much more risky exercise than crunches.
To summarise, sit ups workout more muscles than crunches, however, for long term health, crunches are the safe bet as they provide a much lower risk to your highly important back.
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