Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sit-up Training Versus Core Stabilization Exercises

Last year Drew Baye pointed to a long article called The Myth of Core Stability. It is an interesting read amid all the current fashions of training. Part of the conclusion was as follows:

Weak or dysfunctional abdominal muscles will not lead to back pain Tensing the trunk muscles is unlikely to provide any protection against back pain or reduce the recurrence of back pain.Core stability exercises are no more effective than, and will not prevent injury more than, any other forms of exercise.

Core stability exercises are no better than other forms of exercise in reducing chronic lower back pain.

I think there is definite value in targeted and tailored prehab and rehab work of the sort I sometimes point to - e.g. as discussed by Colin - but that article did get me thinking.

I thought of it again when I saw this:

Effects of Traditional Sit-up Training Versus Core Stabilization Exercises on Short-Term Musculoskeletal Injuries in US Army Soldiers: A Cluster Randomized Trial.

Background The US Army has traditionally utilized bent-knee sit-ups as part of physical training and testing. It is unknown whether the short-term effects of a core stabilization exercise program (CSEP) without sit-up training may result in decreased musculoskeletal injury incidence and work restriction compared with traditional training.......

.......Of the 1,141 soldiers for whom complete injury data were available for analysis, 511 (44.8%) experienced musculoskeletal injuries during training that resulted in work restrictions. There were no differences in the percentages of soldiers with musculoskeletal injuries. There also were no differences in the numbers of days of work restriction for musculoskeletal injuries overall or specific to the upper extremity. However, soldiers who completed the TEP and experienced a low back injury had more days of work restriction: 8.3 days (SD=14.5) for the TEP group and 4.2 days (SD=8.0) for the CSEP group.

I know there are limitations to this study, bu it is not really a ringing endorsement of core stabilisation training.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if anything has been more overrated than the focus on "core". Many things in fitness seem to be assumed rather than actual reality, such as any benefit to be derived from working the "core" and fixing "imbalances". This type of "Structuralism" just doesn't hold up well under scrutiny. I spend less than 10 minutes a week on any sort of core work and that's probably more than needed.


PeterVermont said...

I personally have found that doing planks effectively relieves and prevents sciatic pain in my leg which stems from a bulging disc (MRI).

When my leg starts to get that nerve pain I usually realize that I have been neglecting my planks. Start them up again and the pain recedes.