Okay, you might say that anything is better than sit-ups. Laundry, washing the dog, castor oil…. But what I meant is that there is an exercise that is actually more effective for firing the abdominal muscles than sit-ups. Sit-ups and crunches do fire the abdominal wall pretty well but not as well as this exercise does. A series of studies were done at the University of Waterloo in the 1990’s. The studies recorded which exercises fired which muscles and to what levels did those muscles fire. Here are some of the results for you (Low Back Disorders, McGill, 2002).
|Rectus Abdominis||External Oblique|
|Push-up/Leg Pull Front||40%||40%|
|The isometric exercise demonstrated in this Blog||75%||70%|
By the way, this exercise is great for anyone with low bone density. When you have osteopoenia or osteoporosis you are not to flex the spine especially with exercise. So no sit-ups if you have low bone density (this includes crunches). The exercise is also great for anyone with low back issues. The exercise works the abdominal and spine muscles without placing undue pressure on the discs of the spine.
For the Pilates World:
Teasers and Roll-ups are great exercises. There is definitely a place for them when it comes to spine articulation and coordinated challenges. But what it you have nagging back pain? Well, then this article should come as good news. Your stomach muscles are not going to suffer because you can’t do a Teaser or Roll-up. As Pilates professionals we have so many tools in our toolbox that no one ever need to worry that there won’t be one thousand different ways to accomplish a task. Is it stronger abs you want? Then we can find a way to make that happen even if flexing the spine is not recommended for you!