Skip to content HOLIDAY HOURS

The Worst Popular Exercise in The World

Want to hurt your back? Want to create problems?  Keep doing situps!

The sit-up exercise is still very prevalent in today’s gyms and still widely prescribed by personal trainers alike.  Except this exercise creates more problems than it solves.

Somewhere along the line of the core fad, people decided that back pain and issues are created by ‘weak abs’ (which also meant weak core).  This could not be further from the truth.  While weakness of the core is definitely a contributing factor to a lot of back pain – this does not point to the stomach abdominal muscles.

What is your core ratio?
Research says that your core ratio is the best predictor of back pain.  This means that your front muscles, and you back muscles should be in a specific ratio.  As well, your left side and your right side should be equal.  It is when these ratios are out of whack that you run into problems.  By that token your abs can be too strong for your low back muscles which would create a painful and problematic imbalance.

Situps are bad

World famous spine biomechanist Dr Stuart McGill of University of Waterloo points out that our spine is at its weakest when it is bent and/or twisting.  When you do a sit-up it creates a large compressive force on the spine through the muscle activation, and then you bend the spine under compression.  This is not good.  All the best abdominal and core exercises are done with a perfectly straight spine nowadays.

Why would you do a sit-up?
Everyone only does ONE situp every day.  When you wake up and sit up in bed.  If you only have to perform that activity once a day, and training to do that repeatedly hurts you… Why would you continue to train that movement? The reason is that people just aren’t sure of what they should be doing.

Research shows that the stability ball plank, and the stability ball pike have the highest abdominal activation of any exercise you can do and neither involves bending the spine.  The pike is a very advanced exercise, so it would be recommended that people start with a tuck or something more introductory.  The stability ball plank is easily adapted to each person’s overall fitness level.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.