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Military Sit Ups (BAD FOR YOUR BACK?)

Military Sit Ups (BAD FOR YOUR BACK?)

What’s up guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. No! I’m not laying down on the job today. I’m actually down here because I feel like
it is my job to show you guys how to start doing the Sit Up right. The Full Sit Up has been demonized in most
Ab Training Programs. Told you to stop doing it a long time ago,
start using Planks instead of it. Because the Full Sit Up will ruin your back. I can tell you this, the Full Sit Up, as a
Physical Therapist, could be a pretty bad exercise, if you’re not doing it right. Now we know that the Sit Up is an exercise
that we actually can’t get away from depending upon what you do for a living. If you are somebody who’s in the Military,
or the Police Academy, or a Firefighter you’re going to have to do Sit Ups. So we might as well learn how to do them the
right way. Here’s the key, if you’re going to do the
Full Sit Up you want to make sure the only thing you focus on is, what is your Pelvis
doing at all times. Now, with my pants we’re going to actually
be able to see what’s going on here pretty easily. We have both a Posterior Tilt, where our low
back is in contact with the ground and our butt is kind of curved up and under. And then we have an Anterior Tilt, where our
butt and pelvis tilt forward this way and you can see that there’s space between my
low back and the floor. Now if you look at this part of my pants,
right here, you’ll be able to see that when we’re in a Posterior Tilt it’s kind of angled
a little bit straighter ahead, and when I go into an Anterior Tilt, it’s
curved down more. Now when we initiate the movement, we have
to start from a Posterior position and end in a Posterior position, without ever going into an Anterior Tilt at
any point in the motion. Because what happens is, the exercise starts
getting grilled, rightly so, when you go from that Anterior, Posterior, Anterior, Posterior, because you’re causing a shearing force between
your vertebrae. And when you get that, you’re actually passing
that through into your spine, into the disks of your spine. You get a breakdown of the ring of the annular
fibers around your disk that can eventually lead to a leak or a rupture of your disk. So what we want to do, is get into that Posterior
Tilt. So we do that by curling the butt under. And then we initiate the curl on the way up
from there, all the way through, keeping that Posterior Tilt. Ok we come down nice and slow eccentrically
and we come back up again. What you don’t want to do, is you don’t want
to anchor your feet when you start the exercise. Why? Because as soon as you anchor your feet
watch what happens. I have my feet under here, if I pull, right,
to anchor myself and actually give me some leverage, look what happens. Right there, into an Anterior Tilt. We know
that Hip Flexion or Hip Flexor activation will pull our Pelvis into an Anterior Tilt. Well now what happens? We go from an Anterior
Tilt then into a Posterior Tilt, there’s the shear. That’s what you don’t want. So you never want
to hook your feet, especially not in the beginning of the exercise. You can actually get away from it a little
bit as you get all the way up to the top because you’ve already completed the motion. It’s not shearing with motion. That’s going
to be the worst thing. So you want to be safe, just keep your feet
out of it. Get down to that Posterior Tilt, keep your
feet off of the anchor and come straight up from here and go back down again. Ok, like I say guys, it’s all about the Pelvis
and what you do with it that determines whether or not this exercise is a shit exercise, like
it’s been called, or not bad at all, if you do it right. Guys, like I said early on, some people, First
Responders, Military Personnel, Police Officers, Firefighters, you’re going to have to do Sit
Ups as part of your testing. Let alone part of your training. If you’re
going to do it, you want to do it right. For those guys, we’re actually releasing a
brand new program next week, ATLEAN SPECIAL TACTIX. It’s made for the guys that are preparing
for the physical readiness exams in any of those fields. And we’re going to help you do it and get
better, not just at the exercises that are being called for there, but to improve your strength levels as well. I think it’s one of the most overlooked aspects
of the physical readiness exams. We’re going to have you covered there, a 30
day Training Program to get you ready for any one of your physical readiness exams. That will be available at ATHLEANX. In the meantime, if you found this video helpful,
make sure you leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know whatever else it is you want to
see here on Washboard Wednesdays and I’ll cover it. Alright guys, I’ll be back here again in just
a few more days with another new video for you. See ya!

Reader Comments

  1. My physical therapist taught me to do partial sit-ups with my heels in the air, loosely crossed. That means I can't pull on my feet to help, which messes up my pelvic tilt. Also only lift your head 9 k inches or so.

  2. If you don't anchor your feet at all are you more likely to remain in the posterior position? It's pretty easy for me to do situps with my feet plastered to the ground.

  3. I've been doing sit ups for a month and I can't continue now because it hurts my lower back bone. Can you help me please?

  4. So I am in the Army and when someone holds my feet during a PT test what ends up happening is my hip flexors and quads burn more than my abs by the end and this hurts my run immediately after. What are some technique changes I could do and I could have my foot holder do to hit my abs and not my quads and hip flexors as much? Bare in mind speed during the 2 min is essential so I shoot back and forth very fast.

  5. I had cervical spondylosis c4 and c5. currently I lift light weight more reputation. can I do sit ups. please suggest.

  6. I really appreciate the way you explain the exercise and how to do them properly. There's no telling how much damage I've done to myself over the years doing them wrong.

  7. Thanks a lot Jeff!
    Could you also please show how to do the sit ups properly on a sit ups bench? Is it safer to do sit ups on a bench?

  8. an issue I always have when doing military sit-ups is having to lock my fingers behind my head. it always lead to me pulling my head into my chest causing me to choke myself. this usually happens when I'm fatigue and trying to make it back up

  9. I am a skinny guy and I have already hurt by tail bone, it got swollen, What SHOULD I DO? except seeing doctor. HELP ME

  10. so that`s why my lumbar is so screwed up!! i wasn`t doing my sit ups right in my youth!! thanks for the pointers, Jeff, and thank you so much for sharing my friend, with love from Wes!! hugs!!!

  11. hey Jeff. cheers. ill try it out. failed my sit up component today due to my back locking up and me not being physically able to lift my upper body any more. no pain. just locked up. hopefully this will help.

  12. Why is this guy doing girlie situps? I did them for years. Full leg extension. I could do 120 in 6 minutes. 126 if I pushed. If I really pushed. I could do 126 situps in 4 minutes. I did not have a 6 pack. I had an 8 pack going.

  13. I have found that. it is much more effective to do call it LIE DOWN. you begin by sitting up and then lie down. and sit up and lie down for as long as you want the first day

  14. My lower back and tailbone makes a few popping noises everytime I do a sit-up (usually on the way back down) and im supposed to be doing 85 but it is extremely distracting and uncomfortable and I usually can't go past 30 because of this. Does anybody know what might be causing this? Im certain that im using the same technique as in the video, and I always do them on a mat.

  15. I have one question. What is the correct hand position to do a sit up? Behind the neck, Beside the head, or in front of your body just like how you did it in this video? Answering this would help me a great deal. Thanks, and have a nice day!

  16. so that's why i have 2 herniated discs down there. this makes so much more sense, i was never taught this in any class or gym. wtf

  17. I don’t what is the best sit up form but thanks for the video I just need help what’s the best form

  18. If you put a couch or a pillow under your ass will that bypass all the freaking hassle with abdominal exercises?

  19. lay on you back with legs bent 90 degrees and arms next to body,then pull up your pelvic floor/butt while keeping your legs at a 90 degree angle(you can push your arm a bit into the ground for support)make as many reps if you can,rest and repeat….ps DONT pull up your legs,keep them at 90 degrees and pull up your pelvic floor,you wil feel when you do it correctly

  20. Please make more videos on sit ups please I’m trying to find the right form with the hands other interlock them

  21. The thing is that PT with the military isn't really something that is used to keep each soldier at top physical fitness but rather a thing used as group morale and unity. This was the point with using group punishment in which the group would do exercises as a result of individual failure. This was to teach us to understand that there is no 'I' in 'team.' The military is a killing force. It encorporates physical fitness but the primary focus to train the individual to kick in the door and look you in the face and put two in you before you do it to me . In fact, our leaders always recommended us to hit the gym whenever possible. Then again that's the old 11b Infantry. Now…it's all about looks and rainbows…

  22. Do not do situps! They put a TON of pressure on the discs and lower back – even in that posterior pelv tilt

  23. Can't really see what your butt is doing maybe you should wear a bodybuilding bathing suit so we could see better. Not black because blends into the floor. Good information though.

  24. Just remember…you only go back til the small of your back touches the floor…and if your doing it the Army way…& not the halfcheating only need to touch elboes to knees Marines way, your back is perpendicular to the floor at the top hands and elboes behond your head like in parade rest pattern.

  25. Thank you Iam getting ready for those tests and was worried about how to do a sit up correctly. For one test I would need to aim to do 78 or more sit ups

  26. I use an fitness Athlos fitness to carry my lower workjs but if you lay on it for a while when resting it brings like a ahhh sound of way when getting back up.

  27. omg Jeff you're a genius…..i can't do crunches and sit up before and after watching this do it easily because i have APT

  28. If one practices full sit-ups in the way Jeff describes here (controlled, feet fully on the ground) and becomes proficient in this.. Will that translate to being able to do military style sit-ups better?
    I'm joining the Army soon and while I understand that the sit-ups are necessary (until the PT test changes in a few years) I do not want to wreck my back trying to get a good or perfect PT score.

  29. What happens if you start quaking during the middle of your workout? Does that mean that your body is fatigued, or I'm not doing it right? I'm just trying to figure out this dilemma. Thanks for the video, Jeff. It really helps me better. I'm just concerned about the quaking.

  30. Thank you for this video, I've been asking questions on whether to do sit ups or reverse crunches. Actually I do both and for years I seen that a lot of fighters do sit ups so something is either being done right or wrong.

    I always come to this channel to get a better understanding of exercises.

  31. Jeff, also shouldn't one not curve the mid to upper back as that over time can have an effect on the disks/posture and also one should focus on the abs doing the pulling versus the hip flexors or legs. Lastly the descending, shouldnt it be a little more controlled as the eccentrics may help the muscle development overtime?

  32. Finally someone who actually explains why my back starts hurting during this exercise! There was so much crap I read and nothing really helped. Thank you so much!

  33. I truly LOVE you Jeff bc I just joined the military and am required to do those sit ups. I train hard since I'm trying to max my scores, but you have shown me that I've been doing the sit ups wrong all this time. Thank you! I'll fix my technique now and get stronger

  34. Hi
    Great video. Sit ups are getting a bad rap. They are functional and important and if the curl up is done slowly, segment by segment, it’s excellent for core rehab and getting rid of low back pain. Weak psoas muscles are a very underrated source of low back pain. Muscle balance is key. The posterior tilt MUST be maintained on every rep. This is very important! Many people cant do unsupported sit ups and need to start with eccentric lowering using therabands to help pull themselves up. I use this technique in a Physiotherapy clinic . It is a great step towards proper technique. Thanks Jeff, cheers

  35. Oh thank you jeff. I wish i know this earlier. Now I know that i did it wrong. Mostly use anterior (coz I only know that our back should be on straight position all the way). But that so wrong in the sit-up. And now i got back pain. Lol.

  36. I thought the execution of those exercises were wrong but in the military it’s whatever looks good and can be seen as good. Luckily my focus on exercise is on proper form so I do my exercises properly and don’t stray away from improper form otherwise you gain nothing and may end up causing problems along the way

  37. When i try to do sit ups without anchoring my feet my legs come up automatically. It's almost like they are not heavy enough to stay down. So i basically can't do sit ups without anchoring my feet.

  38. It's not just about safety. If you raise your upper body that high, you are not training your abs anymore. You are just resting your muscles because the lumbar spine kicks in to support the weight when you go past a certain inclined angle. That's not an effective way to train your abs.

  39. I'm more than happy to see the end of the Army's spastic sit-up race in 2020. And I can do 98 of them in 2 minutes, so don't act like I'm just saying this because I'm a low-speed.

  40. Fuck situps did some 6 second abs 8 years ago and my nut dropped real low and aches now have groin hip and back problems never been the same again

  41. My cousin (who's been working out for 4+ years) told me to go up with my abs and don't put my hands behind my neck.

  42. Thanks Jeff. I have been in the Air Force for 16 years and have never had the sit up explained like this. We are required for the test to have our feet under a bar or to be kneeled on by our counting partner. I always have a sore back and hip flexors when I am finished. It makes my 1.5 mil run so hard on me that it takes several days to recover.

  43. Hi, I'm 15 and have terrible posture. It's very noticeable and I feel like the hump back of Notre Dame my back has been like this for about 2 years. I started to get a terrible posture when I just turned 14, I started to notice it when I started playing a ton of video games ( ) and I regret every bit of it. I would sit in a four legged chair in front of my TV leaning forward and now I feel like I will be like this forever! I need help. I ask my parents if I can go to a chiropractor but we just can't afford it. I don't in w what to do now. and to make it even worse I gained a ton of weight. hi weighed 120 pounds at age 14 and now at age 15 weighing 170. I just don't know what to do anymore… video games ruin lives.

  44. I'm sorry but from the biomechanical perspective, adding a compressive force in a posterior tilt alone will push the nucleus pulposus backwards and therefore pose a risk for disc herniation. Watch biomechanist Dr. Stewart McGills' videos for getting a strong core without the need to increase the risk of back injury. Exercises that keep the neutral spine are more favorable.

  45. Wait… you said “do planks instead” in this video. And in another one I recently saw you said “planks are bad”. I’m confused.

  46. I recovered from a herniated disc two years ago, now I can squat, deadlift and even snatch and clean and jerk without any pain however sit ups and crunches even with proper form I get pain in my lower back immediately and the pain can last a few days so I never do sit ups or crunches.

  47. Jeff, what about the upper back? Shouldnt the upper back be a little more erect and straight not curved so one isnt creating a habit to reverse the effects of the face pull, creating a hump/neck pain?

  48. Innerlock your fingers behind your head and see if you can do 60 in two minutes without locking your feet!!!!

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