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Strengthing the core
Old 06-23-2009, 06:52 PM   #1
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Strengthing the core

I've had a bad back this last couple of weeks so have been forced to do some much less impactive exercises including yoga. DW found this article and the exercises look really good. I've done the "bird dog" plenty in the past and have started it again this last 2 weeks, but the other 3 are new for me. (watch the short video for a demo).

Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back?

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a core exercise program should emphasize all of the major muscles that girdle the spine, including but not concentrating on the abs. Side plank (lie on your side and raise your upper body) and the “bird dog” (in which, from all fours, you raise an alternate arm and leg) exercise the important muscles embedded along the back and sides of the core. As for the abdominals, no sit-ups, McGill said; they place devastating loads on the disks. An approved crunch begins with you lying down, one knee bent, and hands positioned beneath your lower back for support. “Do not hollow your stomach or press your back against the floor,” McGill says. Gently lift your head and shoulders, hold briefly and relax back down. These three exercises, done regularly, McGill said, can provide well-rounded, thorough core stability. And they avoid the pitfalls of the all-abs core routine. “I see too many people,” McGill told me with a sigh, “who have six-pack abs and a ruined back.”
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting this. I read the article a few days ago, but they didn't have the video out yet and the video is very helpful.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this. I read the article a few days ago, but they didn't have the video out yet and the video is very helpful.
Seeing a demo is so much better than just reading about it - I liked the video as well and it introduced a variation on the "bird dog" that I had not seen before.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:34 AM   #4
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You can do most of your abs standing up - just contract your abs and squeeze in like a crunch, repeatedly, then you can do them tilting side to side to do the obliques (place hands on head like a crunch and tilt to the side, legs shoulder width apart)...then you can raise your legs up in the regular crunch, and to the side (like a boy dog lifting leg to pee) and crunch to the side while lifting...try it , you'll like it!

Key with these are good form, always contract abs in, no slouchy slouchy, keep knees bent ... if you want a video, the turbo jam vids use this style of working out.
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Old 06-25-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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Kettlebell!

http://www.liftkettlebells.com/Video...ell-Swing.aspx
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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Whoa -- so the crunches are bad?
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
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Whoa -- so the crunches are bad?
I don't think so. I think they're just saying make sure the form is correct, and don't do a bunch of crunches and nothing else.
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:49 AM   #8
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I don't think so. I think they're just saying make sure the form is correct, and don't do a bunch of crunches and nothing else.
"As for the abdominals, no sit-ups, McGill said; they place devastating loads on the disks."

Watch the video, it shows how devastating sit-ups are for your back. I've stopped doing them and, instead, am doing the 4 exercises that McGill favors.

Just like anything else, experts are developing deeper learning about things. And many things we were once taught (smoking is healthy, don't swim for an hour after eating, sit-ups to strengthen your core) are now being found to be untrue or even detrimental.

omni
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:33 PM   #9
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"As for the abdominals, no sit-ups, McGill said; they place devastating loads on the disks."

Watch the video, it shows how devastating sit-ups are for your back. I've stopped doing them and, instead, am doing the 4 exercises that McGill favors.

Just like anything else, experts are developing deeper learning about things. And many things we were once taught (smoking is healthy, don't swim for an hour after eating, sit-ups to strengthen your core) are now being found to be untrue or even detrimental.

omni
Actually as far as sit-ups go that has been common knowledge for at least 10 years, probably longer. Although I must admit I still do them on occasion on a swiss ball. Muscles pull. Doing only abs to build your core doesn't make any sense. There are more muscles than abs in your core.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:52 PM   #10
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Whoa -- so the crunches are bad?
I think it is horses for courses, you could well be fine.

Since hurting my back recently I've stopped doing crunches because they hurt, but these 4 exercises from McGill are excellent and I've done them a couple of times and my back feels great. In fact I just did 30 minutes of cardio tonight (stationery bike and then elliptical trainer) but will continue the McGill exercises instead of some of the lower back exercises I had been doing.
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Old 07-01-2009, 02:46 PM   #11
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Crunches and dead lift/straight leg dead lifts with moderate weights seem to do the job of keeping my lower back from complaining. I think the important thing is that you do a mix of exercises with good form and not look for the "best" exercise. You should also change the specific exercises every 6-8 weeks to hit some different muscles.

Free weights (including things like the kettlebells) will recruit subsidiary muscles and are therefore likely to be better than a machine that targets one specific muscle group.

ExRx (Exercise Prescription) on the Net

has a huge amount of exercise info including videos showing the proper form to use. You can also find out just what muscles actually get used by a specific exercise.

Even better, it doesn't cost anything to use that site.

cheers,
Michael
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:38 AM   #12
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I think the important thing is that you do a mix of exercises with good form and not look for the "best" exercise. You should also change the specific exercises every 6-8 weeks to hit some different muscles.

Free weights (including things like the kettlebells) will recruit subsidiary muscles and are therefore likely to be better than a machine that targets one specific muscle group.
Oh crap, now I have to say I agree with Michael Moore. Those are very good pieces of advice.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:58 AM   #13
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I am intrigued by the kettlebell regimen. Always looking for something new to make exercise more interesting. I currently take an evening yoga class but most of the ladies in the class are twenty and thirty-somethings. The one I really want to take is at the YWCA, but it is week day morning when, alas, I am punching my ER ticket among the toiling classes. It is described as a gentle yoga with a lot of stretching. The emphasis is on form and flexibility. I have long avoided crunches as I hate them. I use Nautilus machines, the treadmill, rowing machine, recumbent bike for variety on different days. I occasionally take Body Pump at my gym when I am feeling inspired. It is weightlifting choreographed to music that. Routine changes about every 6 weeks.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:50 PM   #14
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Anyone try the sitfit or something similar? My posture is horrible! I need something to get me to sit up straight and work on my core muscles...
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