How to Develop Usable Abs – 3 Part Training Series

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External Oblique - Usable abs

Developing Usable Abs

As a guy who goes in to a gym pretty regularly, some things never change.

It doesn’t matter what gym it is, you see people lying on their back doing 100’s of sit-ups, crunches, trunk twists and these goofy windshield wiper things.

Why?? They don’t work and actually have been proven to age your body and specifically your low back.

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Do Sit-Ups, Crunches and Trunk Twists Again

1. Sit-ups and crunches increase low back stress by 300x or more.

No situp - usable absIt has been found that sit-ups place over 3,000N of force on the lower spine, specifically the disc. Every rep causes cartilage in the disc to be stretched abnormally.

Repeating this stretching force onto the disc cartilage over and over 100’s of times a week is going to ultimately wear out and weaken the disc.

This will lead to possible disc herniations which is the #1 injury in the low back.

2. The spine, specifically the low back, has a shelf life.

The spine will only be able to flex forward, bend sideways, and rotate back and forth so many times. Don’t use up movements doing actions like sit-ups, crunches and twists that create avoidable stress and will lead to early aging of the lower spine and cervical spine.

3. Crunches reinforce bad posture.

Left arrow - usable absPlace yourself in a chair and slump over. Is that good posture??

Heck no.

However, that is exactly what a crunch and sit-up replicates.

Forward head, rounded shoulders, flexed low back with no butt are all outcomes of those that do these movements over and over again.

4. Crunches and sit-ups are artificial movements that our body doesn’t recognize as normal movements.

Yes, it contracts your abs (specifically the rectus abdominus) but once you stop, it won’t remember or use the abs like that in real life. The abs are designed to stabilize the low back and prevent it from moving too much.

Sit-ups force your abs to contract while causing your spine to repeatedly flex and move. That is not how your abs were wired to work. So essentially they are teaching your body movements that are not part of the movement plan.

5. Crunches and sit-ups don’t work to get what 99% of those people doing them want from them.

Why do you do sit-ups?? To create a flat stomach and a 6-pack.

A cosmetic 6-pack comes from having a flat stomach and eliminating excess fat around your midsection. A functional 6-pack comes from great transverse and oblique muscle activity.

Sit-ups, twists and crunches hit your rectus abdominis only and, as a result, create a protruding stomach. Try preventing your stomach from protruding when you do a sit up. If you are hammering sit-ups every day that won’t happen.

Get YOUR Abs Right

Core Chaos Program - Usable abs

The Following 3-Part Series on Developing Usable Abs Will Help You Learn and Train Your Abs the Right Way

PART 1: Mobility is a Must for Abs

PART 2: Stabilization Everywhere and Often to Get Great Abs

PART 3: Ab Training with Every Exercise to Build Super Abs

Get Usable Abs in 28 Days


28 Day Core Chaos Training Manual and Kit

Core Chaos Program - Usable abs


Meet Dave

Dave Schmitz, PT, CSCS, PES has been writing, teaching and training how to implement resistance band training for rehabilitation, general conditioning, and performance since 1996. He is the founder & co-owner of Resistance Band Training— the leading band provider worldwide.

Along with being a co-author of the Amazon best seller, Total Body Breakthroughs, Dave is also the author and producer of numerous fitness & nutrition articles, E-books, DVDs. His passion is focused on trainers, clients, and athletes improve their body’s ability to handle momentum, gravity and ground reaction forces using elastic resistance. Dave also consults online with several high schools, universities, private performance training business and is also on the board of experts for the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA).

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