An exercise we were all taught to do since grade school causes more than half the workout injuries in the U.S. Army.1
What’s more, tests reveal it doesn’t provide the fitness benefits claimed for years by exercise gurus.2
As one group of researchers stated: This common exercise is best left in the dustbin of fitness history.
Of course, it’s important that we all stay fit. And if you’ve ever been in a gym class, you’ve likely done this exercise hundreds of times. But if you continue with this old school drill, you may be sentencing yourself to years of chronic pain and future surgery.
It’s the sit-up.
A study of 1,500 U.S. Army soldiers found that the old, reliable sit-up caused 56% of their training injuries!
A biomechanics professor at Canada’s University of Waterloo found that the sit-up puts a dangerous compressing force on the spine.
His studies show that one sit-up generates a whopping 753 pounds of force on the spine. This exceeds the absolute limit of 741 pounds recommended by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
And the repetition of doing dozens of sit-ups multiplies the danger.3
This kind of pressure compresses the discs so they bulge outward. Discs are shock absorbers between your spine’s vertebrae. The pain of a bulging disc can be excruciating.
Under further stress, the disc can rupture. This can mean disabling pain. Spinal fusion surgery is often the recommended treatment.3,4
And as we age, the discs become less flexible and more prone to injury. That’s why sit-ups may be especially harmful to older people.
Fitness experts say the plank pose exercise can safely and effectively replace sit-ups in your routine. And it provides greater core strengthening benefits.
In this exercise, you pose like a stiff plank, hands and toes touching the floor, arms extended. You can also perform the exercise with your forearms, rather than your hands, on the ground. Hold it for as long as you can. Your goal should be two minutes.
There are other core strengthening exercises that can replace sit-ups. In the bridge exercise you lie on your back. Keep your feet and shoulders on the floor. Arch your back upwards.
Hold for as long as you can. Again, aim for two minutes.
The Bird Dog
In the bird dog exercise, you get down on your hands and knees. Then extend an arm and leg on opposite sides.
These three exercises give you greater benefit than sit-ups. And they dramatically reduce the potential for injury. Have you tried any of them?
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch