For quite a few years, most personal trainers and therapists have been convinced that the best way to reduce the number of back injuries was to increase abdominal strength. While there is some merit to this point, it is being mis-applied. Most people, upon hearing this, decide to strengthen the abdominals by doing sit-ups or abdominal crunches. This can lead their clients down bad paths.
In fact, researchers in the last decade have found that sit-ups drastically increase the amount of low back compression, which stress the low back discs and can lead to increased disc herniations and other pathologies. Each sit-up produces low back compression levels that are close to the Occupational Health and Safety action limits, and repeatedly compressing the spine beyond the action limits have been conclusively shown to increase the risk of back disorders. Instead of abdominal strength, research has shown that rehabilitation professionals and their clients should be concerned more with abdominal endurance. This can be achieved through the implmentation of exercises such as curl-ups (much different than crunches!), planks and bird-dog exercises. I will describe these movements in the coming issues of this newsletter. But, for now, STOP THE MADNESS OF SIT-UPS AND CRUNCHES!!!