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Blah Blah Blah “Stop Doing Sit-Ups.” Blah Blah Blah. Is Anyone Listening?

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:26am

First off, the video above is SFW. Secondly, you may be wondering “what is 2 Girls, 1 Cup?” Answer: you don’t want to know, trust me*. Thirdly, you’re also probably wondering “why is Tony using this video as part of a fitness/nutrition blog?” Answer: grandma’s reaction essentially sums up how I feel every time I witness someone performing sit-ups. Hahahahahahaha. True story.

Long story short, I trained at Hell-on-Earth Bally Total Fitness over the weekend, and in doing so, it reminded me just how lucky I am that I train at my own facility. You can only imagine all the things I saw that made me want to light my face on fire while I was there: the 6-3, 150 lb guy performing squats on a BOSU ball, the trainer taking his overweight female client through a series of “hip circles” followed by the seated ADD/AB-duction machines, and lets not forget all the dudes who walked around with their invisible water jugs between their arms (otherwise known as ILS: Inflated Lat Syndrome).

All that being said, nothing was more cringe worthy than all the people I saw performing endless repetitions of sit-ups as part of their workout. It still amazes me that people think there is any benefit to performing them. To be honest, I can think of a host of other things that would be more beneficial:

1. Cirrhosis of the liver
2. A nuclear holocaust
3. Four more years of Bush
4. Getting kicked in the balls, repeatedly
5. Another Sex and the City movie

I haven’t programmed a “sit-up” for any of my clients in well over three years, and they’re essentially banned from Cressey Performance. In the past, I’ve explained why I’m not a fan of sit-ups/crunches, so I won’t belabor the point here. Cliff Notes version (professional explanation): when one performs a sit-up and/or crunch, they’re essentially pulling the sternum closer to the pelvis hundreds, if not thousands of times, promoting a kyphotic posture (rounded back). Cliff Notes version (my explanation): they suck.

Furthermore, in Low Back Disorders: Evidence-based Prevention and Rehabilitation, Dr. Stuart McGill notes that the traditional sit-up imposes approximately 3300 N (about 730 lb) of compression on the spine. Incidentally, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set the action limit for low back compression at 3300 N; repetitive loading above this level is linked with higher injury rates in workers, yet this is imposed on the spine with each repetition of the sit-up! Hello people?!?!?!?! Stop doing freakin sit-ups, for the love of all that is holy.

* Dammit! I warned you, but you went ahead and looked it up anyways didn’t you? What, did you expect puppy dog kisses, kittens, and rainbows?

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