There has been recent discussion that sit ups are harmful to your back. This is based on how the sit up motion promotes a flexed posture through your lumbar spine (think poor posture through low back while sitting). When a full sit up is performed it engages our hip flexor muscles, which are attached to our lumbar spine and the lumbar discs. In theory, this movement and contraction can promote forward forces through your lumbar spine, and potentially create a shearing force through your intervertebral discs, which may produce irritation. However, this is all based on biomechanical theory and not real scientific evidence.
The sit up is a core exercise designed to activate our rectus abdominus which is the muscle that shows off a wonderful six pack of abs. The sit up alone will not achieve this, as what is required is a well designed and well rounded exercise program, along with a sound nutritional plan. Nor will the sit up give you a strong ‘core’. Achieving a strong core requires a balance of exercises that target all areas of the spine and midsection. Some of these exercises will focus on stabilizing and creating a rigid spine. Others will challenge you to move while having control of your midsection and spine. A strong core may prevent and/or solve low back problems, depending on your condition. A physiotherapist is best suited to assess your dysfunction and decide whether the sit up, or which other core exercises, are appropriate for you to feel your best.
Contact Prairie Trail Physiotherapy today to book an appointment to address your core health.
Dan Girardin MPT, BESS