Interesting article in the Times on ab work

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    Jun 21, 2009 7:35 AM GMT
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/core-myths/?ref=magazine

    Any thoughts? Opinions?

    Reading this article, I have to say that I fear that my back problems may be the result of too many years of the wrong kind of ab work.
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    Jun 21, 2009 8:06 AM GMT
    I stopped doing sit-ups and lying crunches a long time ago. Instead, I do cable crunches and hanging leg raises to work the abs directly. My overall "core" gets developed indirectly from heavy lifting. Never used a lifting belt in all the years I've worked out. And I'm glad I didn't.
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    Jun 21, 2009 11:41 AM GMT
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/core-myths/?ref=magazineInstead, he suggests, a core exercise program should emphasize all of the major muscles that girdle the spine, including but not concentrating on the abs. Side plank (lie on your side and raise your upper body) and the “bird dog” (in which, from all fours, you raise an alternate arm and leg) exercise the important muscles embedded along the back and sides of the core. As for the abdominals, no sit-ups, McGill said; they place devastating loads on the disks. An approved crunch begins with you lying down, one knee bent, and hands positioned beneath your lower back for support. “Do not hollow your stomach or press your back against the floor,” McGill says. Gently lift your head and shoulders, hold briefly and relax back down. These three exercises, done regularly, McGill said, can provide well-rounded, thorough core stability. And they avoid the pitfalls of the all-abs core routine. “I see too many people,” McGill told me with a sigh, “who have six-pack abs and a ruined back.”


    Aw man... and I was just starting to like sit-ups. Once one of my most hated exercise exactly for the reason that I get a really sore back afterwards.
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    Jun 21, 2009 12:55 PM GMT
    This article was mentioned on an earlier thread
    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/527585/

    A common cause of back pain is forward flexion. Forward flexion places stress on the lumbar spine. This is the reason that people that sit and lean forward all day at a desk have back pain. Crunches and sit ups are extreme flexion activities.
    The McKenzie Method, is a school of physical therapy from Australia, that recommends the opposite activity or extension exercises for back problems.
    http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/pain-relief-mckenzie-treatment

    McGill's recommendations and exercises are excellent. I had significant back problems until I started his exercises 2 years ago. I can now squat and dead lift without problems. My core is stronger so I can do crunches without difficulty.
    I use some of McKenzie's recommendations and also do stretching.
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    Jun 21, 2009 4:22 PM GMT
    kneedraggen saidMcGills recommendations exercises are excellent. I had significant back problems until I started his exercises 2 years ago. I can now squat and dead lift without problems. My core is stronger so I can do crunches without difficulty.

    Agree 100%. Started doing McGill's exercises last fall and haven't had any problems since
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    Jun 21, 2009 8:27 PM GMT
    and next week there will be another article that says crunches are great for you ... and the week following another one will say they are not... and so on and so on... the moral .. if it ain't hurting you continue on
  • Rookz

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    Jun 21, 2009 8:36 PM GMT
    This is something to definitely digest for my lower back has been aching due to sit-ups on the floor; the modified sit-up with an arch knee is something I should try.

    Would yoga exercises such as cobra and cobra-prone help relieve the pain?
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    Jun 21, 2009 9:12 PM GMT
    A cobra like exercise (extension of the back) is part of the McKenzie Method for treating back pain. I use the cobra for my back problems. It may not work for you. There are multitude of problems that can cause back pain.
    There are many web sites on the net advocating yoga for back pain. One site mentioned that the back can be injured if the cobra is done incorrectly or too deep.
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    Jun 22, 2009 2:24 AM GMT
    MadeNUSA saidand next week there will be another article that says crunches are great for you ... and the week following another one will say they are not... and so on and so on... the moral .. if it ain't hurting you continue on


    Ah, but that's kind of the point. I first had back problems in my late 20s (which is longer ago than I like to think about). Then they stopped for a long time, but they eventually started up again. The last few years, my back has rarely been in great pain (though it's certainly in some pain sometimes), but my alignment is seriously screwed up.

    And sometimes I think that I've gotten so used to the pain that I just don't notice it much anymore.

    Is this the result, wholly or in part, of so many years of a certain type of ab work? I don't know. I'm going to try the recommendations in the article and hope they help, though I know the problems are probably never going to go away completely.

    I should probably mention that I have spondylolysthesis. This may have been congenital or it may have been the result of things I did or something that happened to me. Nobody knows.

    It's all very confusing because, as you say, next week they'll say something else. I can't say how many times I've heard "Don't do situps," "Yes, you can do situps," "Situps are terrible for you," "Situps are good if done properly," and on and on and on.

    But I'm not sure that the moral is "If it ain't hurting you, continue on." If only it were that simple. It may take a long time before you're aware that it's been hurting you bit by bit on a gradual basis and eventually builds up into something big. And you may not even know what's caused the problem because it's not obvious, because it didn't happen all at once and because the act of doing it doesn't in and of itself cause pain.
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    Jun 22, 2009 2:26 AM GMT
    withHonor saidThis is something to definitely digest for my lower back has been aching due to sit-ups on the floor; the modified sit-up with an arch knee is something I should try.

    Would yoga exercises such as cobra and cobra-prone help relieve the pain?


    I'm with kneedraggen. I'd be very careful of the cobra. It might help but I think it can be dangerous for people with certain types of back problems.

    I've been trying to make sure I do yoga on a regular basis. When I was much younger, I did do the cobra. I wouldn't even attempt it right now.

    Thanks to everyone for all the responses so far.
  • GQjock

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    Jun 22, 2009 12:55 PM GMT
    Just like you wouldn't just do Bicep exercises for your arms

    You cannot have a healthy midsection by just training your abs
    The imbalance that you'll cause will directly cause lower back pain

    That should go without saying
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    Jun 22, 2009 1:02 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/core-myths/?ref=magazineGently lift your head and shoulders, hold briefly and relax back down. These three exercises, done regularly, McGill said, can provide well-rounded, thorough core stability. And they avoid the pitfalls of the all-abs core routine.


    I have a slipped disc. This is exactly what I do to keep my core in balance and my back pain in check.