As fitness professionals, we've bashed crunches and how they are detrimental to your low back's health for quite awhile now. Thanks to years of research by Stuart McGill and many others, it's safe to conclude the risk-to-reward of repetitive crunches probably isn't optimal for your anatomy.
Russian twists and any type of side-bending variation can also be thrown into the mix of poor exercise selections for your back. If we can't train our obliques, what are we supposed to do?
The reverse crunch... what?
Due to the attachment of the obliques on both the rib cage and pelvis, slow-controlled reps of the reverse crunch are incredible for oblique development. The key to this development is through time under tension, which is possible thanks to the external load "anchoring" your body into position.
The reverse crunch is perfect for people that have an extended (arched) lower back at rest. It allows individuals to get a feel for better neutral alignment rather than their typical extended posture. When done correctly, you never fall into end-range flexion of the lower back where issues start to arise.
In the video below, I outline why I love this movement as well as common mistakes I see and how to correct them.