Stop doing pushups and crunches!
The subject line is pretty dramatic, huh? To be honest, we do not really mean to stop those exercises completely. However, they are grossly overused and can lead to physiological problems. We won't say these exercises are bad (in fact, they are valuable in the proper context), but we want to share some thoughts for you to consider before you drop and "give me 20."
We can sum up our "issues" with these two exercises in two words: Posture. Injuries. So save your back and stop doing pushups and crunches.
Continue reading to discover how these words relate to push-ups and crunches (in a not-so-good way).
Look in the mirror. How's your posture? Do you see rounded shoulders and a little hunching of the upper back? A "tucked under" tailbone or pelvis?
The exercises you do in your workouts really can affect your posture, your body position, and the alignment of your joints. As you perform the exercise, your joints will move as the muscle tension changes. Do you mostly do chest and abdominal exercises? - You're likely to see rounded shoulders and a "flat butt" or hips that "tuck under."
The way to combat this is to perform exercises in the proper context or balance. Make sure you do two middle or upper back exercises for every one chest exercise you do. Similarly, do an exercise that targets your lower back for every exercise that works your abs. It's all about context.
This second word is related to the first one. Chronic injuries often arise from poor posture or poor joint alignment that is not corrected over time. When we overly focus on certain muscle groups, disrupting the proper postural alignment of the body, our joints lose optimal range of motion. This can lead other joints and muscles in the body to compensate. And when they do more work than they are meant to, injuries are all but inevitable.
To defy this pattern, follow the advice offered in the "posture" section above.
To conclude, keep in mind that push-ups and crunches (and those related to them) are excellent exercises with many benefits. However, if your workout consists mainly of movements that look like these, you may want to add in some moves that bring a better balance.