Everyone believes sit-ups are the way to a six pack. Also, there is a belief if one exercises, he/she can ‘exercise off’ the six pack that was drunk the night before. I work in science, not beliefs! First, one cannot ‘exercise off’ what has been eaten. Beer, in particular, is grain based, causes a beer gut, and increases inflammation that might already be in the body. Second, fantastic research performed by the army in San Antonio (actually, manual physical therapists who work for the army performed this research) compared the activation of the abdominal muscles (via EMG, electromyograph) between soldiers doing their physical training of hundreds of sit-ups and soldiers who had been treated by orthopedic manual physical therapists for back pain and received abdominal/core training. The soldiers who had been in orthopedic manual physical therapy (OMPT) for 6 weeks, doing NO sit-ups, were the soldiers who could effectively activate their abdominals. The soldiers doing sit-ups only activated their hip flexor the psoas muscle, which attaches to the back and can cause all sorts of back issues. What’s your take-away from this blog? Learn true core exercises from someone with advanced training (Residency at least or Fellowship level) in orthopedic manual physical therapy.
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