Maybe you've heard this a jillion times: Core strengthening is vital if you want to avoid injury. But is it true? A new study doesn't conclusively say one way or the other, but it sure casts some doubt on the incredibly common assertion.
In the study, released in the journal Physical Therapy, 1,100 soldiers aged 18 to 35 were divided into two groups. One group used a core stabilization exercise program that lacked sit-ups, while the other used a traditional exercise program that included bent-knee sit-ups. The point was to compare how the two programs affected the rate of musculoskeletal injury.
Why the focus on sit-ups?
Despite longstanding tradition and the widespread popularity of sit-ups, it has been postulated that this exercise results in increased lumbar spine loading, potentially increasing the risks of injury and low back pain (LBP). Specifically, sit-ups produce large shear and compressive forces on intervertebral disks and across the lumbar spine. Increased muscle activation anteriorly results in both initial hyperextension and subsequent hyperflexion of the lumbar spine, contributing to large compressive forces during sit-ups.
Sit-ups have long been an important yardstick by which the US Army measures physical health. But if they're causing injuries, or failing to prevent injuries that core strengthening could prevent, that might need to change.
The results, though, didn't show any massive difference in injuries between the two groups. “There were no differences in the percentages of soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries. There also were no differences in the numbers of days of work restriction for musculoskeletal injuries overall or specific to the upper extremity.”
It’s worth nothing that the results for the two groups weren't identical. Soldiers who completed the traditional exercise program did have more days of work restriction than the other group if their injury was to the low back.
As much as we all like studies that conclusively prove broad truths, the reality is that what we “know” tends to advance in teensy increments. This study is one thread in a much larger tapestry. What it tells us, though, is that sit-ups might not be the bogeyman and core strengthening might not be quite the miracle each has been portrayed as—as usual, more studies are needed.
Via: Saveyourself.ca – check out the lively and informed discussion taking place on their Facebook page
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There's a U.S. Air Force Base in the middle of Seoul, South Korea. If the myths of the American expatriate community are to be believed, they've got a Taco Bell in there. After three or four months of nothing but gim, bap and gimbap, I’ve witnessed otherwise-reasonable American civilians so thirsty for Fire Sauce they start to plan insurrections and armed raids. While I was in Seoul, my craving for Enchiritos never reached such a fever pitch, but I finally understood that urge to overthrow the government this morning when I went to ride my bike out by Kirtland Air Force Base.
Jeez, you guys, I’m runnin’ out of trails. For this, my penultimate week on the bike path beat, I had to search the map and my soul to find one I haven’t already written about. I couldn't remember ever having been on Paseo de las Montañas, and I couldn't exactly figure out why. The map showed it intersecting Tramway just south of Candelaria, a stretch of road I've traversed too many times to count. How could it be that I'd repeatedly ridden past an inviting bike-only turnoff without ever even noticing it? The answer is that there is no inviting bike-only turnoff. I made a couple of increasingly bewildered circuits on Tramway's western shoulder before giving up and hauling my bike through the grass until I found the trail.
"Dammit, Sprocket," panted my buddy Drew as I mushed him down Rio Bravo like a sled dog. "Why do I always get more than I bargained for when I hang out with you?" Our leisurely Saturday ride on the Paseo del Bosque turned into a militaristic crusade after a conversation with another cyclist at a rest stop about our mutual loathing for backtracking. "If you don't want to turn around here," he advised us, "go down Rio Bravo. You can get all the way out to Paseo del Volcan. It's great out there."
"Gross," quoth my boyfriend when I told him I'd be riding and writing on Tramway Boulevard this week. "That road is home to the most aggro asshole cyclists in the whole city. I'll never understand why they insist on riding on the shoulder when a dedicated bike path is just 50 feet away."
Mmm, how about those gravid gray rain clouds lately? August, our wettest month, is nigh. When that musty creosote tang is in the air, a low sun shining under the numinous pillar of a classic anvil-shaped thunderhead, I always feel inspired to buy a blank canvas and demonstrate my searing love for the desert monsoon season by painting an extremely trite watercolor landscape. Alas, nothing that springs from the brush of Sprocket will ever be worthy of even the shittiest Old Town gallery, so I choose to express myself through the medium of bike rides.
Dudes, I'm serious when I say "skinny tires." The velocipede between my legs is a single-speed street bike, so when someone suggested I get off the asphalt, I was like, ew. But then I was all, hmm. I've never been mountain biking ever. Why? It’s scary. I'm not x-treem enough. I could fall into a cholla or succumb to derailleur angst. And dirt and granite just tend to clash with my cute spandex threads.
"May 7, 1990. Dear diary, today we (me Dad Li'l Bro) went on a huge huge bike ride 14 miles it was so so fun. We went on one of those bridges across the highway. When we were done we went to this place called ‘20 Carrots’ and got a milkshake! PS All the waitresses wear earrings in their nose. Hoop and diamond."
Ah, Grandaddy Paseo del Bosque, that 16-mile behemoth that stretches all the way from Alameda in the north to Rio Bravo in the south. The best, most perfectly car-free artery in the entire city. The trail so epic that we're only going to talk about half of it this week.