Crunches and Abs: Are They Effective? | Belo Medical Group

Why Aren’t Crunches Effective For Building Abs?

By Ysabel Vitangcol on October 24, 2020

When it comes to achieving the chiseled abs of our dreams, the types of exercise that always come to mind are sit-ups and crunches. After all, those repetitions are going to take effect eventually, right? Well, not exactly. Here are some reasons crunches aren’t the most effective for building abs.

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1. Genetics play a big factor.

‘Tis true! Some people are just really lucky to be born with the genetic makeup for visibly toned abs. The six-pack we see is actually the rectus abdominis muscle, which has bands of connective tissue that appear as “packs” of muscle along your abdomen. Here’s where genetics comes in: you’re born with a set number of these connective tissues, which is why some people have four-, six-, and even 10-pack abs. Genetics also determine how even and big these packs might be.

2. Doing more repetitions won’t do anything.

A common misconception is that doing a hundred situps and crunches everyday will lead to a sculpted stomach. In reality, muscle definition will not become visible unless you have leaner muscles. Meaning, you need to have less belly fat on your body. But as a 2011 study shows, abdominal exercises like situps and crunches do not necessarily lead to a smaller waist or less fat in your abdomen.

3. It doesn’t engage all of your core muscles.

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Ideally, improving abdominal muscle tone and strength requires engaging a majority—if not all—of your core muscles. For a long time, sit-ups and crunches were thought to be a good way of engaging and strengthening your core. However, a 2014 study showed that planks are actually more effective in engaging the abdominal muscles and, therefore, better for muscle building. 

4. The wrong form can render your efforts useless.

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Any form of effective exercise requires executing the correct form. According to Harvard Health, sit-ups “push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When the hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they tug on the lower spine, which can create lower back discomfort.” Engaging your hips and glutes, rather than your core, can also lead to developing a “bulge” rather than the toned tummy you’re going for.

5. You can’t rely on sit-ups and exercise alone.

While exercise is very important in meeting your fitness goals, it’s simply not enough to achieve the toned bod you want. You have to make adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. This means adding more “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and high protein sources in your daily diet,” according to Healthline, to go with your workouts. After all, the end goal is not only to look good, but also to feel you’re at your best physically.

But if you do want to attain that toned tummy sooner rather than later, then a non-invasive procedure like the Emsculpt will be the answer to your six-pack prayers. A 30-minute session is equivalent to 20,000 crunches. Amazing, right?

To book your Emsculpt appointment, call 8819-BELO, or email

Want to chat before diving in? Click here to book an online consultation with a Belo MD. If you want to speak to the Beauty Expert herself, click here to book an online consultation with Dr. Vicki Belo.

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