Are sit-ups ‘destroying your back’? Experts weigh in | Fitness News

Are sit-ups ‘destroying your back’? Experts weigh in | Fitness News

One of the popular exercises that many instructors swear by is sit-ups to tone the abdominal muscles. But if chiropractor Dr Rob Jones is to go by, “Sit-ups are destroying your back whether you know it or not”. “I get patients all the time dealing with back pain and more times than not they’re doing this move,” said Dr Jones.As an alternative, he shared a “more effective core movement for a way more functional core exercise that will protect your back and help you #getbetternotolder”.
Do sit-ups harm your back?
Performing sit-ups can have downsides, particularly when not executed with proper form or for individuals with certain health conditions. While sit-ups are a popular exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles, they can pose risks and may not be suitable for everyone, stressed fitness trainer Garima Goyal.
Where’s the risk?
The strain on the neck and lower back
One significant downside of sit-ups is the potential strain they can place on the neck and lower back. The repetitive flexion of the spine during sit-ups can lead to discomfort or even injury, especially for those with pre-existing issues like herniated discs or lower back pain. “In some cases, individuals might improperly use their neck muscles during sit-ups, contributing to neck strain,” Goyal mentioned.
Only focuses on single abdominal muscle
Moreover, sit-ups primarily target the rectus abdominis, neglecting other core muscles. “Overemphasis on this muscle group may create muscular imbalances and fail to address overall core strength. A well-rounded core workout that includes exercises targetting different muscle groups, such as obliques and transverse abdominis, is crucial for stability and injury prevention,” urged Goyal.
Increases risk of fractures
For individuals with certain health conditions like osteoporosis, sit-ups can be problematic, said Goyal. “The repeated spinal flexion in sit-ups may increase the risk of compression fractures in individuals with low bone density. Alternative exercises, like planks or modified crunches, are often recommended for those with such conditions to minimise stress on the spine.”
Not recommended for overall fitness
Additionally, sit-ups may not be the most effective exercise for achieving overall fitness goals. While they can contribute to abdominal strength, focusing on compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups might yield better results in terms of functional strength and calorie expenditure. According to Goyal, compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and lunges provide more comprehensive benefits.
Enhanced risk of injury
Improper form during sit-ups can also lead to poor results and potential injury. “For instance, the use of momentum rather than controlled movements may reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and increase the risk of strain. It’s crucial to maintain proper form throughout the entire range of motion to maximize benefits and minimise the likelihood of injury,” shared Goyal.
Instead of sit-ups, try abdominal pressure exercises that engage the core (Source: Freepik)
This may lead to discomfort in hip flexors
Furthermore, some individuals might experience discomfort in their hip flexors during sit-ups. Tight hip flexors can limit the range of motion and lead to discomfort or strain. Stretching and addressing flexibility issues before incorporating sit-ups into a routine can help mitigate this problem.
Do intra-abdominal pressure exercises that engage the core work?
Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) involves creating tension within the abdominal cavity by contracting the core muscles while controlling your breath. This technique is often used during exercises like squats and deadlifts to enhance stability and protect the spine. When you engage in intra-abdominal exercises that focus on the core, you’re essentially activating and strengthening the muscles within your abdominal cavity to stabilise your spine and support your body during movements.

To engage intra-abdominal pressure
*Take a deep breath – Inhale deeply into your diaphragm, expanding your abdomen.*Hold your breath – Maintain that deep breath while contracting your abdominal muscles. This increases pressure within the abdominal cavity, providing support to the spine.*Perform the exercise – Execute the movement while maintaining the tension in your core.*Exhale at the top of the movement – Release your breath at the top of the exercise, and then repeat the process for subsequent repetitions.

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fitness/are-sit-ups-destroying-your-back-experts-weigh-in-9092965/

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