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Precision Abdominal

Everyone has performed the crunch at some time, many have not only performed the crunch, but have performed hundreds of thousands or more of them. Through emg studies it has been proven that this exercise directly targets the rectus abdominus or the front of the abdominal wall. However, in lab studies, the most reliable way to injure disks was to expose them to repetitive end range flexion in a cyclic manner. This means that the thousands of crunches you do in any strange variety of directions, with the feet fixed or not, holding weights or body weight, places a serious and very dangerous damaging force on the disks of the spine. A review of the literature reveals that it is likely that the disk must be bent to full end range of motion to be herniated,[7] and that the risk is higher with repeated loading.[8,9] Maybe the crunch is not as good as most would have you believe.

Another dinosaur that will not die is the leg raise, be it lying on your back, seated on a bench or suspended from the roman chair. Data indicates that the main muscle activated in this exercise is the psoas, not the muscles of the abdominal wall. The psoas muscles main role in this motion is as a hip flexor, not an abdominal or trunk flexor. Almost all of us suffer from tight hip flexors and weak lower abs, all this exercise will accomplish is further tightening the psoas and weakening the lower abdominal wall. So why would anyone select the straight leg raise to improve core stability when this exercise mostly challenges psoas ( hip flexor) which appears to play no role in the stability process of the spine / core and at the same time applies extremely high loads to the spine?.
So what are the best safest exercises for the abs that also strengthen the core and build spine stability? Believe me when I tell you that to perform these safe and efficient exercises that activate the core, abdominal and spinal muscles no equipment is required, all you need is your body and the floor.
The first place to start is the Plank aka. Prone bridge. Perform this exercise like a push up only on your forearms.

Preparation

o Position yourself face down (prone) on your toes and forearms.

Movement

o Brace your abdominals, and retract the cervical spine.

o Maintain the plank 2 position for as long as you can squeeze
your glutes.

Tips

o Keep the glute muscles engaged and legs straight throughout
the exercise.

o When you can no longer fire the glutes, rest and repeat.

The second exercise is the lateral plank or Side Bridge.

Preparation

o Position yourself laying on your side, propped on the foot and elbow. (frontal plane)

o Maintain a ridged body alignment with proper head position.

Movement

o Brace your abdominals, and maintain spinal alignment.

o Raise your torso up off the floor, hold and repeat. Continue on
the opposite side.