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Why sit-ups have disappeared from the gym

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Counting sit-ups at a good pace — “as many as you can do in two minutes” — has been an iconic ritual of suffering to stay physically fit for many years. Arch your back, squeeze your stomach, lift your back up. And repeat until the body endures. The more the better. They were the way of the cross For fame and glory should one day come in the form of six well-marked tablets on the belly, aka six pack. But not everyone got it, no matter how much they suffered. As part of the liturgy, the most ordained along the way measured the strength of their respective obliques by humiliatingly tapping each other in the critical zone.

Any curious observer who isn’t too regular at the gym will have noticed that the classic abs have lost some of their prestige and have gradually disappeared from the routine of training – not the obsession with them six pack That’s more alive than ever — but now it’s being achieved with other strategies, including diet and nutrition.

The Fall of Man sit ups —Name of the classic abdominal muscles that the fitness Responsible for creating and destroying global trends in this regard, American was noticed in the gyms of the United States in the mid-2000s and, according to the calculations of several coaches interviewed, should arrive in Spain from 2010.

“I remember that there were classes with 1,000 sit-ups back then, you don’t see that anymore. So many reps took a toll on the cervical spine and lower back over time.”

Andres Garcia Mazo, coach

His reputation was built in the 1940s when the US Army devoted itself to training its cadets. As part of their training, they had to do as many sit-ups as they could in two minutes. This liturgy was seen not only as a surefire way to build physical strength, but also as a reliable way to measure that strength and other more subjective traits such as character or the ability to devote and make sacrifices. to understand how sit ups Having also penetrated the physical education classes of schools and then high schools, it is only necessary to check what the tendencies are fitness They always look for inspiration in military training.

“With the crunch In the classics, the abdominal muscle was relaxed as if it were the biceps: maximum contractions to achieve muscle hypertrophy and greater volume, but now it is known that when the muscles are different, they do not have to be trained in the same way,” reflects Diego Jérez Arrondo, coach independent staff. “Now we know that the function of the rectus abdominis is not to create movement, but to stabilize the spine and transmit forces well,” he adds.

A thousand abs classes

If anyone is to blame for the classic crunch’s loss of prestige, we’d have to start with the human anatomy scholars and biomechanics experts who, around the 1980s, began to question the idea that you could train your muscles separately, and began to show that which were connected in the abdominal area. It took a decade of research to confirm that the abdominal muscles are just the most visible muscles in a network working together, including the diaphragm, obliques, and pelvic floor muscles. The truth is that the change in concept also influenced the fitness jargon that entered the 21st century and talked about exercise Vein refers to the work of all muscles of the central part of the body.

Andrés García Mazo entered a gym for the first time when he was 15. “I remember that there were classes with 1,000 sit-ups back then, you don’t see that anymore. So many reps were taking their toll on the cervical spine and lower back because they were pulling the most.”

A personal trainer helps two gym users with their exercises.LISI NIESNER (Reuters)

Personal trainer John L. López also remembers this time. “Exercise is always about managing fatigue. When they make 200 or 300 sit ups the quadratus lumborum was injured by the loudness of the repetitions”.

“If you work with a personal trainer, maybe these exercises are retained because they are effective, but in these cases the trainer is at the top and controls the technique,” says Andrés, who works as a collective activities coach at the Metropolitan Club.

Both pros have seen the classic abs adapted or directly replaced with isometric plates and other exercises that seek stability in those muscles. “These are exercises that are easier to understand and more effective, there are no repetitions and injuries are minimized,” says Andrés García. “Now we train more functionally and pay attention to the stability of all muscles,” says John López. When Adrián Medina, the youngest of them all and also a group activities coach for the Metropolitan Club, started working, the 1,000 sit-up obsessives had long since entered the bodybuilding universe. “We have to keep evolving, we know that now, to achieve fame six pack You have to follow very strict nutritional and dietary rules that are not achieved with abdominal contractions,” he says.

The back mechanics

The ultimate demise of the classic abs is credited to Stuart McGuill, a Canadian researcher expert in biomechanics and a professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. In 2015 he published the book back mechanics (Der Rückenmechaniker), where he drew his conclusions from 30 years of research. It is considered the most comprehensive guide to preventing and curing back pain. After interviewing hundreds of people, he came to a compelling conclusion and related it in one of the chapters: Most people with chronic lower back and lumbar injuries had abused fast reps of sit-ups.

McGill explains in his book that when a person’s spine curves and tightens to move a weight, that movement puts stress on their spinal discs. This is why workers who carry heavy loads often end up with back pain well into middle age. The only way to avoid this, says the professor, is to tighten all the muscles in your core – the famous one Vein– to protect the spine and transfer the effort to larger muscles, such as those of the legs. Exactly what weight lifters do and cannot always be applied by storers.

“That Vein It’s the center of the body, it’s not just the abdomen, but the glutes and long back muscles also fall under this term. It is a muscle group that must be contracted to provide stability and protection to the spine. Our task now is to train it so that it automatically contracts every day,” explains Diego Jerez, who also teaches Pilates. In his classes, he asks students to maintain the natural curve of the lower back to take care of back health.

McGill demonstrated how sit-ups violated all of these principles. When you lift the full weight of your upper body from a prone position, you can’t strengthen your core or transfer that effort to your legs. And exercise is inherently repetitive. “For generations, schoolchildren and soldiers alike have been told to do as many sit-ups as possible in order to do well on compulsory tests. Some people can easily perform these exercises, but this ability is largely dependent on genetic factors, e.g. B. how light or heavy the person is, and not of a specific ability to perform. For military training and general population testing, sit-ups just don’t work,” he wrote in his book.

After the book was published, McGill received hundreds of testimonials from people with injuries that fit the pattern he described. Most were trainers and physical therapists in the armed forces of the United States and Canada, they were the first to challenge the primacy sit ups in their physical training. In the last decade, classic sit-ups have been increasingly replaced by isometric and static exercises like planks, and rep sets have been eliminated from mandatory tests. A spokesman for the Army and Navy confirmed to the magazine Atlantic that these changes were intended to reduce the high rates of lower back injuries seen in troop training with repetitive sit-up sequences.

However, all of the professionals interviewed for this report have had some experiences with clients who continue to love classic abs and continue to ask for them to be included in their workout routines. If not, they assume they’re not working hard enough. What the icons have makes it difficult for them to fall from their altars.

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Source elpais.com

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