Comparative Analysis of the Effects of Abdominal Crunch Exercise and Dead Bug Exercise on Core Stability of Young Adults
Background: Poor core stability is a known risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries. The utilization of abdominal crunch exercises for improving core stability has been discouraged by some authorities considering its risks for low back pain. Evaluating the efficacy of other core exercises is necessary for implementing them as safe alternatives.
Aims: This study compared the effects of abdominal crunch and dead bug exercises on core strength, endurance, and flexibility of young adults.
Materials and Methods: Twenty‑nine untrained young adults participated in this study, comprising of three exercise groups [abdominal crunch group (ABG), dead bug group (DBG) and a control group (CG)]. Pre‑ and post‑intervention (at 6 weeks) core strength, endurance, and flexibility were measured. ANOVA and ANCOVA were used to test for differences at baseline and between groups, respectively. Sidak’s multiple‑comparison test was used for post hoc analysis between groups. The effect size was reported using partial Eta‑squared (η2p). Alpha level was set at 0.05.
Results: The highest mean differences were observed within DBG (5.3 [1.67], 63.6 [23.10], and 2 [0.5] for core strength, endurance, and flexibility, respectively). Core strength, endurance, and flexibility varied significantly across groups (P = 0.0111, 0.000, and 0.0090, respectively). Estimated marginal mean (EMM) for core strength for DBG (EMM [ Standard error (SE)], 25.31 [1.38] ) was significantly higher than ABG (20.57 [1.24]) and CG (19.37 [1.30]). For core endurance (EMM [SE], DBG (4.62 [0.12]) and ABG (4.2 [0.11]) were significantly higher than CG (3.8 [0.12]). EMM for core flexibility for the DBG (EMM [SE], 9.47 [0.48]) was significantly higher than the CG (7.28 [0.45]) and not ABG (8.27 [0.44]).
Conclusions: The efficacy of dead bug exercise in improving core stability was revealed in this study. It is biomechanically efficient and suggested as an alternative to abdominal crunch exercise.
Keywords: Abdominal crunches, core, dead bug exercise, endurance, flexibility, stability, strength