Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Shocking Truth About Sit-Ups

What you don't know sure can hurt you!

Are you still doing sit-ups during your workouts?  Please think again!  More and more scientific research is stacking up against this long-time fitness staple.

Stuart McGill, PhD, studied the effects of varying exercises on the lower back. Sit-ups, crunches, varying plank and stabilization exercises, and many others were involved and analyzed.  What was found is that a sit-up generates approximately 3500 Newtons of pressure (roughly 786 pounds of force). According to Dr. McGill and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), pressures above 3300 Newtons are more associated with lower back injury or pain.

Aside from this heavy pressure, sit-ups also involve spinal flexion, which has it's benefits but is also associated with herniated discs.  This little fact makes this exercise even more controversial -- especially for those with any predisposition to spinal disorders or a loss of bone mineral density.

Additionally, prolonged sit-ups tend to lead to aggressive, uncontrolled lowering of the spine back onto the floor or mat, adding even more risk for injury and pain.  To play your core training more safe, we recommend varying forms of planks and other core stabilizing exercises, lateral flexion exercises, and of course, static flexibility training.  Remember -- any exercise can easily do more harm than good if the selection, intensity, or frequency is inappropriate for you.
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Thanks for reading, everyone.  Please comment below with any follow-up questions or thoughts!

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