Do This, Not That

by Colleen Morgan, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS

Whether you are a weekend warrior or competitive athlete,

a life-long “gym rat” or exercise newbie, it’s important to know which gym exercises are worth your time and energy.  Learn what exercises most physical therapists would categorize as worthless (perhaps even downright dangerous) and explore some healthy alternatives in our recurring blog column “Do This, Not That!”

Do This!

Not That!

Planks are the perfect “whole body” exercise as muscles from your head to your toes are contracting to keep you stable.  They also effectively recruit your “core” which includes the muscles of your abdominals, buttocks, shoulder blades and spine.  Hit the floor and hold this position as straight as a plank! Full sit ups emphasize your rectus abdominus (aka your six pack muscle) which connects the base of your ribcage to your pubic bone.  This muscle has no attachments to your low back.  In fact, as you perform a sit up, the rectus abdominus compressed your spine, creating excessive loads to the discs.  Those with a history of low back pain should stick to crunches as they are less stressful to the spine.
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