Q: What about sit-ups/crunches? Good or bad?

A: These gym-class staples have fallen sharply out of favor over the past decade or so. Not only do experts say that conventional sit-ups/crunches set you up for serious injuries but if you do them to exclusion of other movements, you can actually make your stomach look less flat by building up just the rectus abdomoni making your stomach get the dreaded “pooch.” According to this Newsweek article (that’s where I go for all my cutting-edge fitness research, don’t you?) “Doing a sit-up doesn’t train your ab muscles to do the job for which they were designed – keeping your spine straight and secure and providing power for your movements.” Michael Boyle of Strengthcoach.com adds, “In fact, when scientists want to damage the spine of a cadaver for research purposes they put it in a device that’s virtually identical to the crunch machine. Everyone has a finite capacity to perform any given movement. Want to use yours up doing crunches? Wouldn’t be my choice.”

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