Crunches lack responsibility. The form may be top notch for the first repetitions, but it often fails as it progresses. In addition, it is the same movement, again and again. (Yawn.)
This helps explain why building a strong core can be difficult. The contraction of inverse bands is different. Adding resistance forces you to work for each repetition, and changing the pattern of movement emphasizes the different muscles.
“In traditional abs, the upper abdominal leads, so the greatest tension is created there,” says Brandon Mentore, a strength and conditioning coach based in Philadelphia. “The reverse contraction approaches the muscles from the other direction, so the tension is higher in the lower part.”
- To configure, place a light resistance band to a platform or pole at the level of the shin. Sit on the floor facing the fixation point, with your knees bent, the free end of the band on your thighs.
- Back up until the band is taut, then lie down and take a heavy kettlebell behind the head to anchor the upper body. Draw the belly inward, lift the lower back and rotate the hips and knees toward the shoulders, then go back a repeat.
- Do two or three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
- When this is easy, don’t be satisfied. Grab a heavier band. After all, you are responsible only to yourself.