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Why sit-ups are not the best ab workout

When it comes to training the abdominal muscles, which are also crucial for back health, most people probably think of sit-ups first. But it is now clear that they are not so good. There are many better exercises to train the abdominal muscles and the core: 

Why sit-ups are actually not a good idea

It's actually surprising that sit-ups have been part of the fixed training repertoire for so long. If you take a closer look at the exercise and know a little about our anatomy, you will understand why: In this exercise, you press the S-shaped spine firmly into the floor. You are doing precisely the opposite of what is good for your back. You are putting one-sided strain on the vertebral bodies and thus also on the intervertebral discs. The hip flexors also come into play as auxiliary muscles. They increase in strength, pull on the lower spine, and negatively affect the statics. This can lead to complaints in this area.

Back pain from sit-ups

According to a scientific study the Canadian and American militaries have even eliminated sit-ups from their soldiers' training programs. One of the world's best-known spine specialists is Stuart McGill, professor of biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. He calls it an outdated misconception. In fact, in the course of several scientific studies he has found that they can put so much stress on the spine that severe damage can occur. Statistically, people who do this exercise even suffer from back pain more often. 

Correctly executed planks are an effective abdominal muscle and not harmful for the back (©adpic)

The muscles in the abdominal area

Let's take a closer look at the abdominal muscles: There are the deep-lying muscles. They serve to stabilize the torso and support breathing. The middle layer is responsible for rotation. And both the deep and intermediate layers do not benefit from the exercise. Sit-ups only train the upper layer of the abdominal muscles with the rectus abdominis.

Planks are the better ab workout

So what to do instead. No problem, there is a particularly effective and now very popular exercise for the abdominal muscles: planksThey are directly aimed at stabilizing the center of the body. Tightening the muscles strengthens the trunk, back, leg, hip, shoulder, chest, and buttock muscles. And all this with the spine in its naturally curved S-shape. Another advantage: you have many variation possibilities. Planks ausführen solltest, steht hier

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