Back in 2017, the military voted out the idea of getting rid of sit-ups because of spine injuries. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/08/05/head-marines-ditch-crunches-go-planks-their-annual-fitness-test.html
This was caused by a frequent amount of stress placed in the low back from the demand of the sit-up as an exercise. What this means is that the sit-up isn’t an ideal exercise for helping you improve your core strength or muscular definition. If you or someone you know might be doing sit-ups, share with them some of the alternatives we are going to share with you today.
Before we talk about better exercises for strengthening your abs, let’s quickly talk about why sit-ups cause low back pain and how they don’t help you develop more muscle definition.
Eat more nutrient dense foods for abs
If you’re wanting to lower your body fat and see more defined muscles on your body you’ll want to start eating more nutrient dense foods. This includes high fiber foods, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats. When it comes to getting lower body fat, you can’t target specific body parts, your body just doesn’t work that way. Lastly, since our bodies were designed to protect our major organs for survival, this is the last place that will lose body fat. Yay for our bodies protecting our organs!!
Sit-ups & low lack pain
The reason that sit-ups can cause low back pain and don’t get you abs is because the motion of repeated lumbar flexion under shear force works against the body. This is fancy words for saying that bending your low back a repeated amount of time is going to cause pain because your low back shouldn’t be forced into that position. Your low back is made to bend forwards, backwards, sideways, passively, not aggressively. To properly strengthen your core, try doing these exercises instead.
Instead do these
This exercise is a staple in the workouts we do here because of how good they are for the core. Dead bugs are known as anti-extension exercises, meaning that we are pulling the ribs down and the hips up to prevent our low back from arching. This is how we strengthen muscles, by resisting specific motions that cause the muscles to work.
This exercise is known as an anti-rotation exercise, meaning that it is resisting rotation of the pelvis, hips, and spine. The bird dog is similar to a plank because of the positioning that you get in for it. Aside from getting your core to fire this is also helping you strengthen and activate your glutes.
This exercise is known as an anti-lateral flexion, meaning it’s going to resist bending at the side. Most people like doing lateral bends with a dumbbell to try and strengthen their oblique muscles, but again that is another outdated exercise. Side planks are a big bang for your buck, you’re getting to strengthen your core, glutes, and lats all at once!
These three exercises are continuously used in rehab settings all the way to elite athletes. They have a lot of carry over to life and can improve your low back pain. The next time you want to work on improving your core strength, make sure you’re doing the best exercises for this