Are you still doing crunches?

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Well we now know more than ever about core training. A study by researchers at Auburn University-Montgomery in Alabama found that Pilates abdominal exercises are superior to crunches for strengthening abdominal muscles. With this knowledge, YOU can graduate to a higher level of exercise that will help you get better results from your efforts.

I’ve been practicing and teaching Pilates for several years, and thanks to consistency, I now have better core strength and balance and no back pain at all. I came to Pilates in my twenties with back, neck and knees injuries (all posture issues as you can tell) after being a dancer, a competitive runner and a gym bunny. Yes I could do 100 sit-ups but my back and neck were suffering big time and I often ended up injured. That is when I studied physiotherapy and when I was introduced to Pilates equipment. It was more of a mind-body approach to exercise that I was used to and to my surprise, it changed my life for the best.

I gave birth to my 5th baby 2 months ago and it definitely helped me to get back into shape very fast by doing intelligent exercises and not suffering from back problems. One great thing about Pilates is that it helps you strengthen ALL of your core muscles. When exercise like crunches only targets the superficial abdominals (rectus abdominis). Pilates moves can engage and strengthen your internal and external obliques, erector spinae, and even your deepest abdominals, the transverse abdominis.

This muscle is extremely important, but hard to target, and often neglected by people. A weak transverse abdominis can contribute to back pain, poor balance and an overall weak core. Even if you do hundreds of crunches a day that won’t change anything!  When strengthened, this important muscle helps you with functional strength (your everyday ones) and obviously aesthetic appearance (which let’s face it, is a real bonus). A strong transverse abdominis acts like a corset, not only bracing your core and protecting you against injury and back pain, but also by helping create a leaner, flatter appearance of the stomach. No amount of crunches can do that!

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