Stop doing this exercise now. It’s so dangerous it causes half the workout injuries in the U.S. Army.

Never Do This Exercise Again

In All Health Watch, Featured Article, Fitness and Exercise by INH Research2 Comments

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.

The exercise is so bad that the Canadian armed forces have already banned it. The U.S. Navy is considering getting rid of it, too.

What is this scourge of the gym?

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.

Stop doing this exercise now. It’s so dangerous it causes half the workout injuries in the U.S. Army.

The Plank

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.

 

Stop doing this exercise now. It’s so dangerous it causes half the workout injuries in the U.S. Army.

The Bridge

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.

Stop doing this exercise now. It’s so dangerous it causes half the workout injuries in the U.S. Army.

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,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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References:
1http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-you-can-stop-doing-sit-ups-1450722637
2http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/the-man-who-wants-to-kill-crunches/
3https://www.google.com/search?q=convert+newtons+to+pounds&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
4http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/understanding-spinal-disk-problems-basic-information
5http://www.back.com/back-pain/conditions/degenerative-disc-disease/

Comments

  1. As a physical therapist of 40 years with extensive experience in spine disorders, I couldn’t agree more with the banning of sit ups. Your suggestions to do planks, bridges and pointer dogs are exactly what I recommend to patients. I would add that people need to build up very gradually to 2 minutes of holding the position. Starting with 10-20 seconds is plenty for deconditioned people. Add 5- 10 seconds every time the exercise is done. I also recommend starting out by doing these every other day for the first few weeks. Muscle recovery time is important to prevent muscle inflammation from overuse.

  2. I have long heard about the risks of traditional sit-ups. While I think that the replacement exercises are also excellent, I am wondering about doing “crunches” which have you contract the abs, but not lifting your neck and back all the way up. I do find them to be good, and less stressful.

    What is the thinking about modifying sit-ups to “crunches”?

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