Trainer Craig Ballantyne is a bit of a contrarian. In “3 Substitutions for Situps” he writes:
Conventional thinking says we have to do a whole bunch of sit ups and crunches to get six pack abs. But don’t most people hate doing sit ups and crunches?
That’s why I don’t have these exercises in my workout plans.
Neither of the exercises is necessary to get six pack abs.
Crunches are a huge waste of your time. Such a small movement does little in terms of burning belly fat or sculpting your abs.
Every smart trainer knows that if you can do a resistance exercise 50 times in a row, like you can with crunches, that there is little benefit to body composition.
Situps are a more difficult exercise, but like crunches, sit-ups are hard on the low back. Spinal flexion – when you round your low back – compresses the discs between your vertebrae and is actually the same mechanism that causes disc herniations.
So both are un-necessary and risky moves. Too risky for my tastes.
It’s frustrating for the beginner to try to get into a routine, only to see that somebody else has completely different ideas. On the other hand, I’m going to see which of his exercises I can incorporate into my current routine.