What’s better than CRUNCHES for sport riders? (not what you think!)

19 Apr

For those of you not in the fitness community, there is a lot that has been found in the past 10-years about the possible negative consequences of doing crunches.

Studies have demonstrated that full spinal flexion is

  1. NOT the exercise that gets the greatest abdominal contraction
  2. too many crunches can make lower back pain worse
  3. Crunches do NOT lead to reduced abdominal fat

In light of this, many people might say “Then what should I do?!”

Honda Wheelie

Strong abs help maintain a forward lean during hard acceleration.
Photo courtesy of http://www.motorcycle-usa.com

Well, let’s not completely demonize crunches. They can be a serious ab burner when done correctly (use a small range of motion moving only enough to bring the shoulders off the ground). And when considering how fast motorcycles accelerate and how easy it might be to begin leaning backwards, the abs pull the upper body forward when on the throttle hard.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that crunches are the ONLY ab exercise.

Truth be told, chin-ups are actually a better ab exercise than crunches! See, the latissimus dorsi muscle, pecs and abs all work together to pull the upper body forward. Especially on a sport bike!

With the amazing torque and power of today’s superbikes, you’d better be able to hold on. Abs will help you do it. And pull-ups can get the abs, and the grip strength you’ll need to ride your iron horse!

Pull-ups for riding

Notice the grip, shoulder and elbow angle. Move the hands a little closer and it’s easy to imagine this guy riding a superbike! (No this is NOT yours truly)
Photo from marksdailyapple.com


2 Responses to “What’s better than CRUNCHES for sport riders? (not what you think!)”

  1. twotiretirade April 19, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    Ok, If I am lucky I can do one pull up. I guess I will start there. Thanks for the advice.


    • grandprixfitness April 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

      I agree pull ups are tough. Start with one, but another alternative would be seated pulldowns. Just make sure the weight is fairly heavy. Use a weight that only allows you to do between 4-6 repetitions. Then as you get stronger, you’ll find you can do more pull ups.
      Also, make sure your hands are not too wide. You want them as wide as they would be grabbing the handlebars on your bike. Thanks for reading!


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