Do we really need to be doing sit-ups & crunches?
Dr. Stu McGill from the University of Waterloo in Canada has strongly advocated that repeated lumbar spinal flexion (i.e. rounding of the low back) may ultimately lead to a disk injury. The question that remains unanswered is how many will it take to lead to injury? That’s probably a question that is HIGHLY variable depending upon the individual.
Nevertheless, I have pretty much stopped doing crunch/sit-up-type exercises. I feel that you can achieve the same effect performing core stabilization exercises such as planks. The closest that I come to a crunch is a reverse crunch, which I feel is a lead-up to performing a candlestick/lever raise on the floor, hanging on a bar, on the rings, etc.
With that said, here’s a study that was conducted on US Army recruits comparing a sit-up training program vs. a core stabilization program on performance of the US Army Physical Fitness Test. What was found was that –
“….there was a small but significantly greater increase in sit-up pass rate in the CSEP (5.6%) versus the TEP group (3.9%).”
CSEP = core stabilization exercise program
TEP = traditional exercise program
Medicine & Science In Sport & Exercise. 41(11): 2072-83, Nov 2009.
What are your thoughts?