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What Fitness Experts Think About Sit-Ups

by Marianne Navada

Originally published: July 19, 2020 | Updated September 14, 2023

The US Army and Navy are phasing out sit-ups by 2020. The Canadian Armed Forces has done away with them already. Tony Horton, creator of the famous P90X has banned sit-ups and crunches from his routines and Pete McCall, author and health and fitness expert referred to them as “an antiquity of exercise best left in the dustbin of fitness history”. Planks are replacing sit-ups as the core exercise of choice. Here’s why:

Why the Change?

Sit-ups put too much pressure on the spine by squeezing the discs. Overtime, the discs can bulge, pressing the nerves, and cause hernia.

Stuart McGill, professor of spine biomechanics, University of Waterloo, Canada.

According to the Harvard Health, planks use more muscle groups that sit-ups. Additionally, when it comes to real world movement such as walking or getting out of bed, muscles work together rather than in isolation. Planks “strengthen the entire set of core muscles” we use daily.

Why the US Navy will incorporate planks.

Planks stabilize the spine and that’s what the core is supposed to do.

When you do a sit-up, of course, you’re creating motion…I prefer things that stop motion. 

Tony Maloney | Trainer and Exercise Physiologist from the National Institute for Fitness and Sport

Most yoga poses allow you to strengthen the core. Here are ways to yogify an intense core workout routine.

Plank Variations

Lolasana Variations

L Sit

Instructional Video | @janiceliou

Modify by keeping the feet on the floor.

Modified L sit

Modify by using blocks | @miz.liz

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