Did you know that the simple sit-up can be highly damaging to your spine? Same with the “curl-up” exercise. The problem is that the lower back, the lumbar spine, is often flexed during the middle and last part of the exercise. This results in big stress and high pressure on the discs of the lower back…your most vulnerable area.
To Do them properly, do the following:
Prepare by lying on your back on a mat or firm surface.
1- set your back into neutral, with a slight curve between your low back and the floor. One leg should be bent and one leg straight.
2- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegal contractions. (for those of you who don’t know what these are, imagine stopping the flow of urine as you go pee…those are Kegal contraction pelvic floor muscles)
3- Brace your belly and core abdominal muscles. Simply brace for impact as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach.
4- Begin the sit up or curl up: stop as soon as your shoulders are off the floor. This should be just about when your lower spine begins to lose it’s Arch and begin to flex. DO NOT GO HIGHER.
5- Hold for 10 seconds or so, and Repeat. After 10 reps, change legs and repeat the sequence.
NOTE: the leg positions help protect your spine by keeping it more neutral.