Re: SITUP TESTING?
With so much emphasis on ab training, we often
overlook the fact that intensive upper ab training
also can be a detriment. Strong musculature in the
upper abs also compromises the diaphragm, therefore
having a negative effect on respiration.
Not to mention that many coaches still advocate
raising the shoulders which, we all know works the
psoas, adductors and hip flexors, not abs.
Show me an athlete who has overworked the sit-ups and
I'll show you an athlete with a poor psis to asis
ratio, too tight hip flexors, including piriformis,
adductors, gracilis, etc. Now we have an athlete with
a forward pull, causing lumbar back strain...an
accident waiting to happen
So much for the testing, eh?
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- Chris Bailey
>To fuel the debate ... many physiotherapists/physical therapists advocateChris is correct in saying that "many physiotherapists/physical therapists
>strongly the importance of abdominals in performance. What tests do they
>and what is the reliability/validity?
advocate strongly the importance of abdominals in performance."
But the single statement can represent people of completely different focus
- i.e the strength / motor control dichotomy.
One of the main issues of abdominal function Physiotherapists are
interested in is the issue of motor control strategies and the development
of appropriate (feedforward / anticipatory) lumbo-pelvic stabilisation
strategies and the utilisation of the deeper abdominals* (transversus
abdominis / lower fibres of internal oblique).
This philosophy is not related to how many sit-ups one can do but
nevertheless is directly related to "the abdominal muscles" - so yes I
would advocate that they are important.
As for reliability and validity. - A great question. Very limited research
has been reported in this area.
We demonstrated the accuracy and consistency of PTs in the Private Practice
in Perth Western Australia and their ability to identify correct and
incorrect stabilisation strategies when attempting to isolate the deep
abdominals. Similarly many clinical research groups are utilising real time
ultrasound to detect isolated and patterned muscle function (especially of
the Transversus abdominis). Of course we can use needle electrodes but this
is of less clinical application.
Basically, many professional groups (like PT) are working very hard on
these issues. Of course these profession are within a diverse market place
and I do hear statements about the validity and reliability of the tests
each group uses. These are often designed to challenge the position /
knowledge base of that profession in what other professions see as their
turf. Interestingly the moment the research is done - it is open to all
to read, re-name and sell as appropriate on the continuing education
So in summary, I am not clear why physiotherapists are isolated for
advocating abdominal muscle exercises - I don't think it is a single
advocacy group within a single profession. Similarly it is incorrect to
think that "the importance of abdominals" means a single concept.
These opinions may not reflect other people in my profession but I hope it
clears up some of the issues.
Garry Allison. PT.
*In co-activation with segmental muscles of the spine and the pelvic floor
and diaphragm. Abdominal function should be related to specific antagonists
and synergists . i.e point #12 by Dr Mel C Siff.
GT Allison PhD Perth, Western Australia
* If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos..........
* then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the
- Uff! the explanation may be is too scientific and hard to extrapolate in
My modest opinion is:
There are many variables to consider:
If we talk about muscular endurance, then we must consider the levels of
Maximum Strength on one side and Endurance on the other side.
What is the purpose of this test within a training program?
If we want to test strength levels then we should apply a SET/SERIES of
What type of strenght are we going to evaluate? Maximum Strength? just
How about the back muscles? They also are stabilising muscles.
If we check the abdominals why forget the back?
There are a lot of tests (battery) that could give us more practical
- Many of Dr. Siff's concerns are quite valid, as the literature does not
support many activities that are part of the orthodoxy of trunk
stabilization. I believe an on-line short literature review on trunk
stabilization might answer many of these questions but leave open
further discussion as there are still great gaps in what the literature
provides compelling evidence for. Please see:
Stephen M. Perle, D.C. "A man who knows that
Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences he is a fool is not
University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic a great fool."
Bridgeport, CT 06601 Chuang Tzu
----- Original Message -----
From: larry edwards <namaste157@...>
Subject: Re: SITUP TESTING?
> With so much emphasis on ab training, we often
> overlook the fact that intensive upper ab training
> also can be a detriment.
>Strong musculature in the
> upper abs also compromises the diaphragm, therefore
> having a negative effect on respiration.
Please, do you have a reference for that ?
> Not to mention that many coaches still advocate
> raising the shoulders which, we all know works the
> psoas, adductors and hip flexors, not abs.
Exercises like deadlifts and stiff legged deadlifts are regarded as lower
back exercises by many people in the fitness world, even tough while done
with the traditional rigid trunk style, lower back and spinal erectors are
just contracted isometrically, while dynamic contratction occurs in the hip
extensors. This is very close to what happens during a sit up.
Could we say that just because of that, exercises like deadlifts, cleans,
high pulls arent doing anything to make the lower back far funtionally
stronger as well as building very thick muscles there ? Its just a matter of
looking to the lower back of weightlifters and powerlifters to see how they
benefit that area.
It seens most people believe that just dynamic contractions can benefit the
muscles, while the isometric work is not considered. A friend of mine has
been on Russia, and he followed some EMG tests of elite athletes who were
performing very heavy squats. Interestingly the readings were higher at the
trunk muscles which were helding the bar statically across the shoulders
than at the legs, performing the "dynamic" work, a fact that was confirmed
during the subsequent weeks as evidenced by an increase in upper body muscle
> Show me an athlete who has overworked the sit-ups and
> I'll show you an athlete with a poor psis to asis
> ratio, too tight hip flexors, including piriformis,
> adductors, gracilis, etc. Now we have an athlete with
> a forward pull, causing lumbar back strain...an
> accident waiting to happen
I agree with you here Larry, I have observed such correlation with soccer
players and martial artists, but how can we say that. such condition wasnt
present perviously ?
If the sit ups caused the problem, how did it occur ?
Is it a matter of :
Strenghtening illiopsoas by itself has the potential to shorten the muscle
Strenghtening illiopsoas during held BENT LEG situps in a partial range has
the potential to shorten the muscle ( ? )
or is it a matter of :
Performing sit ups with bad form until fatigue, so that after ab muscles are
exausted, the trunk will be lifted off floor entirely by psoas action
pulling lower back into hyper lordodic curve ?