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Health and Wellbeing

12 Jul 2016

Exercises prescription has come a long way

Do you still do sit-ups?

Yes they work your abdominals (the rectus abdominus in particular) but there are so many better and more effective ways of helping not only improve your abdominal musculature, but more specifically targeting your core strength and stability and are of functional value.

In our daily lives we are increasingly sedentary and our posture reflects this and often results in our normal curved “neutral” spine flattening out and resulting in more of a kyphotic seated position when at our desks in front of the computer, driving in our cars and sitting on the couch at home.

All of this results in a shortening of our abdominals through contraction. Then by performing sit-ups, all we do is accentuate this problem by further shortening through contraction.

Sit ups are hard on your back and by that I mean that they increase the pressure on your intervertebral discs. Worse still is when sit-ups are performed with your feet held so that you engage your hip-flexors.

In short, there are so many other core-related exercises that are safer and more beneficial. Seek a fitness professional to help select some better options for you and if you have a trainer or someone that subjects you to them in your fitness classes, challenge them and ask why.

Sit-ups and crunches are an outdated exercise - STOP or phase them out!

Deadlifts … why?

The deadlift in my opinion is one of the most commonly over-prescribed exercises and in my opinion, it is not a necessary exercise for your everyday person that merely wants to keep in shape, healthy, active and most-importantly injury-free.

Sure it is a great exercise and I am going to put in the line I hear all the time when anyone refutes that the deadlift is a dangerous exercise – “it is a very safe exercise when performed correctly”. Please note the major word in there that makes all of the difference – WHEN.

Whilst I may execute a deadlift perfectly for the first one or two repetitions, the more repetitions that I perform, and as I fatigue, technique will then be sacrificed and my chances of injury are increased the longer I continue. And when I say injury, I don’t necessarily mean instant injury but longer-term.

Our spine is a very precious structure.

Whilst pain or injury may not happen today, tomorrow, next week or even next year, but over time we are placing increased loads on our spine and many structures within our bodies and again I will say that whilst the deadlift is a great exercise, it is not a necessary exercise for many of the population.

Planks?

These are a great exercise but too often do I see them performed with poor body mechanics.

I suggest that if you don’t know how to already, follow these steps – depress and retract your scapula (shoulder blades), find your neutral spine, activate/contract or brace your core and contract our glutes all while keeping your head in a neutral position.

Note- these are a great exercise but you just need to ensure you are doing them well!

For more information, exercise guidance or if you have any questions feel free to contact me www.justintimept.com

Justin Moran

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