In my recent studies, I have come across some intriguing information on the safest way to train your core muscles. According to Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, the core muscles should be trained for stability while flexion and hyperextension of the lumbar spine should be avoided. He found through his research, that common exercises like crunches can lead to disc herniation. It is best to train for spinal stability with exercises such as plank, side plank, bird dog, and McGill’s curl up exercise.
I have trained many clients over the years and the most common problem I have seen is low back pain. Having clients exacerbate these problems while doing common core exercises is what led me to find a better way of training their core. Stability exercises appear to be the answer I was looking for. Several of my clients who have back problems have responded well to the new exercises and have less back pain. I hope to at least make you think the next time you decide to do crunches.
We may find in the future that this approach is a bit on the conservative side, but isn’t having a pain free back worth it?
Learn more about Stuart McGill at Backfitpro.com