Forget crunches and sit ups. I’ve been barking about the dangers of too many sit ups and crunches for years. As someone who has congenital spinal stenosis, I am hyper aware of what movements cause potential back pain and make your discs bulge. If you’ve never had back pain, either an acute onset (a sudden accident) or chronic pain that comes and goes, it’s hard to give up all doing crunches and sit ups. But you still should back off of them if you do more than a few dozen a day. That repeated motion wears away the outer lining of your intervertebral discs over time. Discs are one of the few body parts that don’t have the means to regenerate themselves after they’re damaged. And, if you do suffer from back pain, you should definitely give up the sit ups and crunches as a general rule. Planks are your go-to solution. And the harder they are (like the “World’s Hardest Planks” below), the faster they work to flatten your abs and strengthen your core!
That said, I do teach group classes, and I will throw my students a bone with some V-sits, small tiny resistance crunches with a Pilates ring and a few roll ups because the stretch feel good.
I keep those types of exercises to a minimum now and don’t recommend doing them daily. That’s why I’m a plank lovin’ fool! I do dozens of different variations. Here are 2 of the “World’s Hardest.” I heard a trainer who I highly respect refer to the first of the 2 exercises by that name, so I kept it.
The first one should be mastered before progressing to the 2nd, harder one. If your back hurts during the exercise, stop. It means something is not right with your form, or you need to build a little more strength to do it properly.
Enjoy and share with a friend!