Ask Rocco: Stop Doing Crunches!

Ask Rocco: Stop Doing Crunches!

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Q: Since I run on a regular basis, I am thin and in basically decent shape. But after having four children, my stomach looks somewhat distended. Doing crunches three days a week has not helped and I am wondering if you could please advise me on what would work. I really do not want to lose any more weight, but I definitely want my stomach to be flatter. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
—Kaitlin, Clifton

A: Stop doing crunches! For the life of me, I don’t know why people keep doing something that isn’t giving them the results they want. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

Stop doing something over and over again and expecting different results. If it’s not doing what you want, realize it, own it and move on. The reason why your “stomach” as you call it, isn’t getting flat is because you’re helping it to get bigger by doing an exercise designed to build muscle in your abdominal region.

So, reality would speak to not doing that exercise. Anything that folds your body in half or twists your body will build muscle in order to perform that exercise better in the future. That’s just the way the body works.

To keep your “stomach” flat you need to do compression exercises very similar to the ones done in most Yoga and Pilates mat classes. There are many quality places that teach both, so look one up that is close to your work or home. For the record I like Pendleton Pilates but there may be one you like better.