Avoid Back Pain By Skipping Sit-Ups And Crunches

If you have back pain, you’ve probably heard that you should do sit-ups.  While strong abdominal (stomach) muscles are good, sit-ups can be not so good.  Here’s why:

  • Your abdomen is basically the “front of your back.”  Some of the muscles that attach to your spine are actually accessible through your soft abdomen by a trained massage or muscle therapist.  Sometimes the muscles in the “front of your back” are the ones that cause your lower back pain.
  • When you do sit-ups, the movement removes the natural curve from your lower back; it makes it flatter.  The curve is good–it’s there for a reason.
  • When you do sit-ups, it’s easy to strain your neck muscles.
  • Sit-ups shorten your abdominal muscles.  Short muscles in front help flatten your lower back and take away your natural curve.  Short muscles in the front of your body make it harder to keep good posture.  Good posture helps prevent back pain.

What are some safer Continue reading “Avoid Back Pain By Skipping Sit-Ups And Crunches”

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Easier, Safer Ways To Get Strong Abs Instead of Doing Sit-Ups

A physical therapist told me that the best way to strengthen abdominal muscles was just to “suck in your stomach and hold it,” several times.  And that does work, but when we want strong and flat abdominal muscles, we often think of sit-ups.

Here are a few reasons why they may not be the exercise-of-choice for you.

When you do sit-ups, it’s easy to aggravate your neck and upper back.  This can cause neck pain and or headaches.

Sit-ups strengthen the upper abdominals.  When the upper abs are tight, they can pull us into forward-head posture.  “Forward-head posture” means that when we are standing up, our head is in front of our body instead of over our shoulders.  Not good, for many reasons.

It’s easier and less potentially aggravating to strengthen your lower abdominals, instead.

This is how to get into position:  Start on your back with your knees bent and pointed toward the ceiling.  Lift, or move, your knees toward your head, so that your shins (lower legs) are perpendicular to the floor.  Now you are ready for the strengthening movement.

Note:  Your head will be resting comfortably and will never leave the floor during the movement.

This is how to do the movement:  Using only your lower ab muscles, not your legs or hips, move your knees closer to your chin.  That’s it.  Your tail bone may lift or roll slightly upward, off the floor or mat.  Go back to the position where your shins are perpendicular to the floor.  Repeat.

Isolating the lower abdominal muscles can be a very ‘interesting’ thing for a lot of people.  They want to do Continue reading “Easier, Safer Ways To Get Strong Abs Instead of Doing Sit-Ups”

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