I know this sounds like a simple question to answer.
Now, here’s the reason I’m asking this crazy question. I had someone ask me the other day about doing crunches to get flat abs. The burning feeling you get from the exercise is one that I’m sure you’d remember, but that burning is only lactic acid build up … not fat burning off. 🙂
With any exercise that you might do for fat loss, ask yourself this, “How many muscles am I using? How many joints are involved? What amount of muscles are used, and what muscles are they?” Here’s how I break it down. (And yes, I dance a bit when I say that too).
The amount of muscles being used is important because of calorie burn. Doing crunches will only engage a small amount of muscles; Rectus abdominus (Abs), Obliques (internal and external) and some smaller stabilizing muscles. When you bring your lower back off the floor, your hips come into play, but not that much. How many joints refers to what muscles are acting on what joint. Crunches on the floor don’t really use any joints. (You don’t count your spine).
Now, do 10 crunches where you try and reach towards the ceiling. Feel the difference in the amount of energy you need compared to regular crunches? Unless you’re in a crawl space, I’m sure you know what I mean. The same can be said for a squat or a jump squat. Squats will use the largest muscle group in the body as well as all of the ankle, knee and hip joint muscles. Try 10 jump squats where you try and touch the ceiling. Now that’s a fat burner!
So, bottom line is that the more muscle you use, the more calories you burn. To get the max calorie burn, move more muscles. Try and stay away from basic single joint exercises and go
for the multi-joint ones instead. Instead of just arm curls, do squats while doing arm curls.
I’d put a picture of me doing crunches, but I don’t do them… 🙂