I found a way to do crunches that doesn’t make me feel like I’m grinding my spine into the floor 🙂
I was looking at the health app that was preloaded on win8 when I installed it and found a way to modify the crunch using a foam roll just below your shoulder blades, but since I don’t have a foam roll and knew that physical therapists used rolled towels as bolsters I rolled a towel to use in place of the foam roll and it was a MUCH better method of doing crunches for me. I was able to do 20 crunches fairly easily, but still feel like I worked my abs in the process. Of course every time I lowered my head and shoulders back towards the floor, Orca ran across my abdomen…. I got her to stop that and then when I was doing the upward crunch movement, Orca then decided to “help” by wedging her head under my head as I raised it up to crunch my abs …. so I’m not totally convinced I was a rock star with regards to technique, but I feel like once I convince Orca not to “help” me I should be able to work on my abs more effectively and maybe strengthen them up a little which should help with my arthritis and impress my arthritis doc that I’m making a greater attempt at following her advice. I’ve done some things, but crunches have proven to be VERY challenging for me, but this method of using a foam roll or as I modified it and am using a rolled towel, it seems like I have a better chance at doing them. without the roll I was able to do 5 at best on a good day because the grinding feeling was so intense, but with the roll, it creates a pivot point that decreases the amount of contact my spine has with the floor like rocking a teeter-totter, only in this case my abs are doing the work and the towel is the pivot. I was about to do a set of 20 crunches with the towel wich is a personal best in my case. My abs feel tired from doing the set of 20 crunches, so I know that even though the rolled towel made it easier, I still was able to work the muscles I was hoping to work.
My reason for hunting down a way to modify crunches was not so I could become a professional weight lifter or anything of that nature, but more for a personal wellness stand point. I have a constant ache in my lower back that ranges from barely noticeable to excruciating, and my doc has said that strengthening my core muscles could help with that, but until today I couldn’t do what I needed to do without feeling like my spine was being ground into the floor and that seemed like it would be bad in the long run not really sure why, but I suspect that someone doing crunches shouldn’t feel like their spine is being run across a cheese grater …. some pain is not good pain, but using the towel eliminated the grinding while allowing me to work the muscles I wanted to work, so I feel excited that I think I finally found my answer to the question of “How do I do crunches without inflicting pain on myself with every crunch” sore muscles are expected but it seemed like grinding was not a good thing especially since my arthritis is in my spine.
I also found instructions for a modified side plank which should help me with my abs also ….. pending I can convince Orca not to try to crawl under me when I straighten my body out in the side plank position … the modification for it is to bend both knees so they are bent like they would be if I were in a chair, but with my hips in a straight line basically my body and bent knees would form an “L” shape…. the rest of the side plank is the same as a regular side plank would be in terms of raising your body up on your elbow and forearm …. just the weight is on my bent knees instead of my ankles/feet it was listed as a beginner version of the side plank so I know that over time I will likely need to work towards doing a full side plank, but I think until I accomplish 2 things … the first being losing more weight and the second being to increase my muscle strength in my abs the modified plank is my best option now in terms of minimizing the risk of injury.
My goal is to strengthen my abs to make it easier to have better posture, which should in turn help decrease my overall pain level. I’m also making a conscious effort to sit straighter at my desk basically seeing how long I can sit up straight before my muscles get tired and need a break …. I figure if I work at it a little at a time, and try to go longer between slouches it will pay off over time. my abs have always been weak though so I’m fighting a very steep uphill battle when it comes to strengthening my abs 41 years of not knowing how to strengthen them is a lot of time to try to make a comeback from so it will likely take me a long time before I start seeing results, but I figure any improvement I can make is better than no attempt at improvement.
My goals are simple at first glance, but yet also feel very complex in light of the issues I have physically. I’ve been working on losing weight and as long as I do all the things that help me with that I’m pretty good at losing weight ….. now I’m adding a little strength training to my world so I can turn it into a normal part of my everyday life …. now it feels like a chore or something I have to really make an effort to do, but over time it will likely get easier and feel like it is a normal everyday kind of thing for me and I won’t have to work so hard at doing it.
Who knows, maybe I can decrease my arthritis pain even more to where I don’t feel any pain except on rare occasions….. one can dream I guess, it could happen or it might not but I figure strengthening my muscles and losing weight are good things even if I still have pain from my arthritis….. doing something is MUCH better than doing nothing.