Sorry six-pack junkies, but the time has come to ditch the crunches. The limb-flailing, torso-jerking, neck-straining mainstay of traditional ab work needs to be put to bed for good. Here’s why:

Most of us sit. A lot. We sit to eat breakfast, we sit while commuting to work where we sit all day at our desks pounding away on our keyboards. We sit while eating lunch, go back for round two of sitting at our desks, get back in the car and sit on the way home, where, between dinner and TV time, we spend most of the night — you guessed it, sitting. Notice a pattern?

Here’s the thing — while we’re doing all that sitting, the front of our body shortens — literally, especially across the waist and chest. The shoulders round forward as we hunch over our computers and our steering wheels. After so much time spent channeling Quasimodo, it’s easy to see why our bodies default into hunch mode, even while standing.

Now picture this — when you lie on your back and round your upper torso forward off the floor to do a crunch, you’re simply reinforcing that bad posture you’ve spent all day cultivating. And over time, you’ll continue to strain your neck, overstretch your upper back, and slouch forward even more. Notice there’s been no mention of crunches strengthening your abs, let alone giving you a six pack?

Still not convinced? Check out this article from Well + Good NYC earlier this year, “Why Crunches Suck.” We couldn’t agree more…

Stay tuned this month for tips and techniques to strengthen your core without killing your posture.

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