Crunches have to be pretty effective, right? After all, they are one of the first exercises we learn how to perform in our youth, and it’s the first thing that pops into many peoples’ heads when they ponder what to do in order to work out.
Of course, it’s always nice to know exactly what type of results you can expect and how crunches play into your overall fitness goals.
The Calorie Breakdown
Every person’s metabolism functions in a unique way, and some people simply burn more calories during activity than others do – so keep in mind that when I talk about calories burned during exercise, it is an average estimate for most people.
With that in mind, performing continuous crunches burns around 8 calories per minute for the average person. Hardly a significant amount, when you factor in how long a set of crunches usually lasts.
In other words, if you’re aiming to burn calories, crunches should be the last place you turn.
But What About Burning Stomach Fat?
While we’re on the subject, this would be a great time to throw out another common myth: It is impossible to spot-target fat-loss. Working one muscle group, such as your abs, will not help you get a flatter belly or tone up flab caused by fat in the area. The only way to lose fat from one area of your body is to lose whole body fat. Period.
That means the best way to lose stomach fat is through regular cardio exercise combined with a healthy meal plan.
Crunches Compared to Other Exercises
Crunches, due to their low whole-body intensity level and their short duration, just aren’t ideal for burning calories. Instead, consider taking a 30 minute run, which can burn around 300 calories. Or, if you’re not up to that, try a brisk walk, which can still burn about 130 calories in a half hour.
Crunches can be fine for basic maintenance of the abdominal muscles, but beyond that, don’t expect any miracle results!
This article might have been a bit disappointing if you were hoping to rely on crunches to get in shape. While you’re here, take a look around the rest of the Zen Fat Loss site for some healthy, effective ways to get in shape!