21 Apr

Why you should stop doing sit ups (and what to do instead)

Summer isn’t too far away now (yay) which means that bikinis are getting dusted off and gym memberships are on the rise and in your bid to unveil your bikini body you may want to tone up a little, especially around the tummy and hips.

Now, when you think of an exercise for this area, the first thing that springs to mind is likely to be a sit up. I am here to tell you why this may not be such a good idea and to give you some tips on alternative exercises which will not only tone your tummy but your whole body.

Firstly, sit ups are not great for our posture. The excessive and repetitive rounding of the shoulders which is typical of a sit up can cause long term postural changes which can lead to fatigue, headaches and back ache.  Similarly, the flexion of the spine during the upwards phase can cause damage to the discs and may even cause a hernia.

Our backs work very hard. From getting out of bed, commuting, slouching at your office desk, standing up, sitting down, and leaning forward at the dinner table, the back is constantly flexing to support our body. Your spine health depends on your ability to incorporate a balanced work load and so by asking it to also flex during a workout is likely to cause some long term damage. Research claims that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their life so why bring it on early?

Now to talk about exercises which are going to help you get the bikini body you’re after. It’s best to stick to compound exercises which incorporate large muscle groups as they will work your cardiovascular system too. Exercises such as Burpees, Squat Jumps, Plank Row, Push ups and Assisted Pull Ups (among others) are whole body exercises so start incorporating these into your workout and not only will you feel great but you’ll start to notice the results whilst not damaging your spine health.

Jilly Wright

BSc (hons) Sports Science, Level 3 Certificate in Advanced Personal Training, Boxercise Registered Instructor, Certificate in Pre and Post Natal Exercise


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