Could Sit Ups Make Your Back Worse?

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Hey, guys!

It’s Dr. David here at El Paso Manual Physical Therapy

We hear from clients all the time that they’ve been told by somebody somewhere down the line that sit-ups are bad for your back and they’ve probably felt pain when doing sit-ups or after doing sit-ups.

The thing is it’s not that sit-ups are bad for your back. Its that the way you might be doing sit-ups is bad for your back.

We want to clear it up for you guys.

Here is the right way, one of the best ways to do a sit up and it’s not the only way.

There are tons of ways.

An important thing to know about the way that you’re doing sit-ups is that there are three primary muscle groups that you use to accomplish a sit up or any type of ab exercise.

There’s upper abs, lower abs and then your hip flexors which are in the front of the hip here into the thigh a little bit.

You use all those muscles to perform that sit up motion.

But, when you’re trying to help your back problem by doing sit-ups, you usually need to get the lower ab stronger, the ones that are right below your belly button.

There’s a quick little trick that you can do that cleans up a lot of bad form on sit-ups.

Let me show you real quick.

This is the way that I like to do sit-ups.

You’re just going to lie flat, arms all the way up, feet flat just like so and here’s the trick.

You got to flatten out your low back so you got to push down right here.

Then once you hold that down, then come up from right there and you would do as many reps or sets as you desire to do.

But you got to focus on feeling your lower abdominals below the belly button work harder than anything else.

Now the reason why I don’t like you to have somebody hold down your feet or pin your feet under something is because that forces you to use your hip flexors more because you’re using your legs to stabilize and makes you cheat on using your lower abs so you miss using your lower abs because you’re using your hip flexors.

If you always train like that, you do your ab work like that, you’re actually training your hip flexors and it can definitely lead to a back problem.

Guys, if you’ve got a low back problem and you’re looking to do some ab exercises, some core exercises to treat the back problem, make sure you target those lower abs.

I hope this helps, guys.

Have a wonderful day.

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