Column Can sit-up exercises effectively be used as a spine-stabilizing exercise?
It has been published in the past that the amount of abdominal muscles activity involved in stabilizing the spine when performing tasks in load-free, upright conditions, amounted to only 2 to 3% of the maximum activity, indicating that strong muscles are not a prerequisite to stabilize the spine. Upon considering the usefulness of abdominal muscle training, this report indicates that sit-up exercises performed with the goal of strengthening the abdominal muscles are not so effective for spinal stabilization. The muscles that are sollicited the most in sit-up exercises are called the rectus abdominis muscles, which are primarily used to lift the body up. Spinal stability requires control of rotational movements and subtle motions of the spine. The rectus abdominis muscle is said to have virtually no direct involvment in the control of these maneuvers. For this reason, sit-up exercises are not helpful in training the muscles that help stabilize the spine, and in fact have the potential downside of tensing the rectus abdominis muscles, which may lead to poor posture, and therefore cannot be recommended as an exercise for stabilizing the spine.