Why it can be dangerous to do twisting sit ups
Many people (Kevin W) do twisting sit-ups to target both the rectus abdominus (abs) and the obliques at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone? Makes perfect sense, but there’s a problem. It can be very dangerous to do twisting sit ups
When you do a sit-up – or a full crunch where your lower back doesn’t stay flat on the ground – your lumbar spine rounds forward, which is called flexion. The problem is, spinal flexion puts a lot of pressure on the intervertebral discs. Which are located between each invertebrea and help to absorb shock. If a person constantly puts pressure on their intervertebral discs, it can cause microtears to form in the tissue, which can lead to a number of unpleasant back issues.
But there’s one specific motion that’s far more dangerous to discs than flexion: flexion combined with rotation. Unfortunately, that’s the exact motion you’re doing when you do sit-ups with a twist.
Flexion with rotation pushes the nucleus pulposus – the jellylike center – of the disc posterolateral (back and to the side), which is precisely where discs tend to herniate.
Unless you actually want a herniated disc – and experience the numbness, tingling, and excruciating pain that goes with it – avoid sit-ups with a twist, or any spinal flexion combined with rotation.
Best to do your normal Crunches on the Ball (Upper Abs) and Side Crunch on the Ball for your Obliques (Waist)
1. Swiss Ball Crunches
2. Side Crunch on the Swiss Ball