Save Your Spine and Forget the GHD: Enter the Janda Sit Up
The following are some of the reasons why you should not perform a traditional sit-up routine:
1) You may develop Rhabdomyolysis (kidney failure due to lack of blood flow).
2) You may develop Acute Kidney Failure (Kidneys fail within 1 week after exercise).
3) You may develop Chronic Kidney Disease (Chronic kidney disease occurs over 10 years after exercise).
If you have any of these three conditions, then you should avoid performing a traditional sit-up routine. If your body does not respond well to the traditional sit-up routine, then it is better to perform one of the alternatives listed above.
You will need to read through all of the points before deciding which alternative is best for you.
What Is A Traditional Sit-Up?
A traditional sit-up involves holding a barbell or dumbbell with both hands at the same time while sitting down. The weight is held in place by your thighs and back. The legs are straightened out slightly so that they form a 90 degree angle from each other. Your feet are kept parallel to the floor throughout the movement. You must keep your shoulders tucked against your ears during the whole exercise. Your arms are fully extended from your body before the exercise begins. The movement begins with your back and thighs being straight. As you raise up into an upright position, you curl your shoulders towards your hips. Your back is kept flat and does not bend. The range of motion of a traditional sit-up ends when your shoulders reach their maximum curl at your hips. Return to the starting position by using your core abdominal muscles and bending your knees slightly. Hold the barbell with your thighs and back to keep it from falling.
How Does This Move Prevent Spine Injury?
This is an isolation exercise for the rectus abdominus muscles (six pack) in the midsection of the stomach. This muscle group is responsible for flexing the spine forward and curling it. It can also be strengthened by performing crunches, reverse crunches, and leg raises.
This exercise is potentially dangerous for anyone with back problems because it can cause spinal flexion. This can include disk herniations, bulging disks, pinched nerves, spondylolisthesis (vertebra slips out of place), and fractures in the spine.
In severe cases, this can result in Paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) or Quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs).
In the pre-existing spinal injury population, any flexion or torque placed on the spine can cause a great amount of damage. The spine can be stabilized and strengthened by performing anti-flexion core exercises instead.
These exercises are rarely associated with serious injury. These are recommended for people with back problems instead of the traditional sit-up.
Is there a Safe Alternative to a Sit-Up?
Yes, there are several. These alternatives can strengthen the muscles of the midsection and are easier on the back. Most of these exercises focus on the abs, but others work other critical core muscles as well.
1-Swiss Ball Crunch on Floor:
This is an excellent alternative to the traditional sit-up. The floor provides more stability, which allows you to focus on muscle contractions instead of balance.
Sources & references used in this article: