STOP with the CRUNCHES Already! Part 4


Ab wheel

According to Dr. Stuart McGill, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON, Canada), “The traditional sit-up imposes approximately 730 pounds of compression on the spine.” (McGill, 88)  This fact alone is enough to convince me to stay far away from crunches and all of its variations.

Unfortunately, Back extensions aren’t any better.  Back extensions on the Roman Chair (45 degree bench with feet anchored) creates 890lbs of compression on the spine (McGill 91).   In addition, floor exercises such as the “Superman” inflict over 1300lbs of spinal load and compression (McGill, 91).  I would have to imagine that trunk flexion and extension have doubled as a great client retention program for Chiropractors and Physical Therapists.

The primary function of the core is to stabilize the spine and maintain optimal alignment between the pelvis and the spine.  The core also helps to protect against excessive stress when the bodies extremities are in motion.  This makes no sense to me of why the majority of gym goers insist on adding hundreds of crunches to train our abdominals?  Well, it does make sense given the state of information in main stream magazines, infomercials and uneducated personal trainers.

Over the course of my video series I will provide alternatives to crunches and back extensions to build a strong and powerful core.  Please note that the video series is in no particular order.

*Please consult with a physician or any other health care professional before randomly trying any of these exercises on your own.  I will do my best to give progressions and things to be cautious about when necessary.


These rollouts can be done with the Ab Wheel as seen on TV infomercials.  The Ab Wheel is one of only a few fitness products being sold on TV that I would endorse and deem useful.

Train Mind, Body & Spirit

Nathane L. Jackson cscs & kbts
WBFF Pro & VEGA Ambassador


Nathane Jackson conducts 1-on-1 and group training business in downtown Toronto, as well as offers a comprehensive International Online Coaching and Nutrition Program for general fitness and athletes, as well as special programs for golfers and physique competitors.

For more information about Nathane Jackson Fitness, please visit

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