Core Strength & Endurance
by Dr Oliver Hobkirk-Smith
Sit Ups are not a good core strength exercise.
This is a term used by many, but understood by few. Often advocated as the holy grail of exercise and fitness training by disciplines such as Pilates, core strength exercises are very commonly prescribed for sufferers of low back complaints. 'The Core' consists of the girdle of musculature which surrounds your low back and pelvis (Rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, transversus abdominis, and the lumbar erector spinae). The principles behind strengthening this region are sound. However, in reality the theory, application and appropriate integration of extercise often falls short.
One example of a safe, effective core exercise.
For example: The traditional sit-up imposes approximately 3300N (730lb) of compressive load on the low back. Interestingly, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health state that the maximum compressive load tolerance of the low back is also 3300N. Despite irrefutable evidence contradicting the use of sit-ups and other exercises alike, countless individuals still choose to use them. Worse still, many personal trainers, physiotherapists, chircopractors etc. continue to advocate these unsafe procedures. Spine safe alternatives which target the required core musculature with a greater accuracy are discussed [see below]...