Crunches are to be avoided if you possess Sway Back Posture (kyphosis and a posterior tilt in your pelvic position). Crunches or chest lifts, recruit the rectus abdominis (the outer layer of the core) and the upper fibers of the rectus are overactive with Sway Back Posture. It’s for this reason you should avoid crunches and focus on strengthening the transverse abdominis, external obliques, and internal obliques.
What can I do for my abs if I can’t do sit-ups/crunches?
This is a great question. The answer is: a lot! If you have Sway Back Posture, I’d advise investing in a small Pilates anti-burst ball, light set of free weights (1-3 lbs), and a long foam roller. These three tools will give you endless possibilities of ways to work the TVA and internal obliques. The external obliques can also be worked, as I mentioned in more depth in blog #5, lying supine with the knees on the foam roller, seated or standing.
What should I focus on when doing abdominal work with Sway Back Posture?
The first area to check is your pelvic position. Make sure you are working in a neutral pelvis or with an anterior tilt (an arch in the low back). This will begin to correct the constant posterior tilt of the pelvis. Secondly, make sure the shoulders are plugged down the back. This will allow you to increase shoulder stability and lat strength. Lastly, breathe. Inhale to prepare and exhale on the effort pulling your belly button in towards your spine and lifting in and up on your pelvic floor muscles (the muscles that stop your stream of pee) to contract your transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of your core) which protects your lower back.