Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Best Abdominal Exercises?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Traditional sit-ups were long thought to be the only way to gaining “warrior-like” abdominal muscles. In actuality, traditional sit-ups cause a tremendous loading force to the lumbar discs. The lumbar spine should not incur more than 3,300 Newtons (N) of force at one time, otherwise it is susceptible to injury. Traditional sit-ups, such as the bent knee sit-up may load the lumbar disc with 3,350 N with only one movement. A strait leg sit-up loads the discs with an astronomical 3,506 (N). These exercises may destroy your back if they are done over an extensive period of time. Better choices for core and ab strengthening are the Curl-up, Side-bridge, plank bridge, and Kettlebell swings. These movements cause only about a quarter or half the force of traditional sit-up exercises. The most important key to core and abdominal strength is to train movements and not by solely isolating the abdominal muscle.

*consult your physician before starting any workout program, this note is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis nor does it constitute treatment of any kind. There is inherent risk to any exercise program*

By: Dr. Josh Sonsiadek, Chiropractic Physician, Certified Fitness Trainer


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