Sports is a great way to get fit and look good now that summer is almost here (in Australia). I’m looking forward to spending christmas on the beach and like everyone else, we’re hoping for that beach body. Certain exercises are part of creating that perfect body and the toned sleek lines of the female abdomen is as highly desired as the chiseled six-pack of the males. As you may know, having strong core muscles boosts sports performance, increase stability and helps with back pain and overall spinal health.
I’ve been writing about the 5 worst ways to boost sports performance. This is because you may fall into the same mistakes everyone makes. This is part 4 and we are targeting the worst exercise to boost sports performance. This is the fourth of 5 worst ways to boost sports performance. If you missed the first worst way, you can read it here. If you missed the second worst way, you can read it here. And Here’s the third.
Now for the fourth:
4. Sit ups
Sit ups are a great way to activate and contract the abdominal muscles. Along with crunches, they are also one of best ways to build a six pack – especially targeting the upper abdominals.
However when it comes to performing well in sports, sit ups and crunches makes it to the top of list of worst exercises. You can read more in my upcoming book “The Pain Free Executive – How high performing people eliminate aches and pains.” There’s a specific outlining the worst ab exercises and another another chapter on which ab exercise is best. (The book is available for pre-order now!)
Why’s it bad?
Firstly, sit ups forces your body to be flexed (hunched) forward, which you know is poor posture. If you sit all day, the worst thing you can do is over exercise the muscle that makes you sit badly.
Secondly, sit ups only train the top layer of muscles, your rectus abdominis. This is your six pack muscle. Sit ups also only make it strong in one direction – flexion (forward bending). Sit ups and crunches do not help your deep stabilising muscles that are required to keep you balanced and stable in all seven directions of spinal movement.
Add on top of that, that many people do way more sit ups and crunches than other body exercises. My neighbour finishes every gym workout with 400 sit ups. I asked if he does 400 push ups or 400 bicep curls a session – his answer was no. So why do we all do insane repetitions of sit-ups, that strengthen our poor posture habits when we don’t do that same number of repetitions for all other muscles?
Thirdly, sit ups are bad for your back. Besides the action, which compresses the spine, discs, joints and nerves, they also over-activate the hip flexors. This can cause back pain and aggravate injuries like slipped discs (lumbar disc protrusion). Sit ups are also bad for your neck. You may see people leading the sit up motion with their neck. The neck stretches forward, reinforcing a poor posture habit and causes unnecessary stress and strain on the neck muscles and joints. This can cause neck pain.
Along with poor technique and fatigue, (as you tend to do way more sit-ups than any other exercise) sit-ups can cause spinal and pelvic imbalances, shifts, tilts and misalignments. They train only one muscle in one direction and over work other muscles. This excessive stress and spinal injury can occur in the neck, back or hips and definitely do not boost performance.
Have a question? Want to get fix an injury? Get treatment for your back pain? Book online here.
You can also pre-order his upcoming book “The Pain Free Executive – How high performing people eliminate aches and pains.”