In the next of the “Cold Metal” series, Renegade Training™ founder John Davies notes how “exercise is simple whilst sports mastery is complex”.
Quick to the point, the modern exercise industry over complicates matters on a continuous basis. While there are a number of reasons for this, it has chiefly occurred due to commercial reasons. Complicated exercises and even better, gleaming machines are an easy sale to the public who are far detached from physical education classes of the past. The basics of exercise have been forgotten and what “we”, those who must change the course of publics obesity epidemic, are left with not only task of improving levels of conditioning but first teaching the public what it avoids the most, hard work.
Unfortunately, the majority of the exercise field is busy trying to garner the public’s attention and their hard-earned wages with movements that offer little benefit and far beyond their ability. The list is endless but in an era where the public drives to the gym to walk on a treadmill, unilaterally hip flexors are too tight, the core is weak and range of motion is sorely lacking. Add to the mix, insufficient leg drive and it is clear that what the exercise field has been preaching has not worked and needs to be “re-booted”.
If there is to be a new and improved exercise world it will, with my blurry vision, look at lot like the distant past. Morning, “rise and shine” callisthenics, physical education in schools that emphasize active games that involve problem solving and participation in healthy activities throughout your life will become a hallmark of the “new” modern exercise world. Yet throughout it all, “simplicity” will rule supreme so the realm of the complex will go far away.
Case in point is abdominal training and as all can vouch, the exercise community is full of ridiculous notions that turned training into a comedy of errors.
While I significantly prefer the starting base of core postural holds, the basic sit-up is near extinct as well as the ability, due to a lack of strength in the rectus abominus region, to perform a single one. Individuals will go great lengths with varying pieces of equipment, “hard core” weight training but when it comes time to “drop for fifty sit-ups” they are usually forty-nine, or so, short.
Repeating what I have done in many classes, most are so that they are incapable of performing a single sit-up to which they receive my sarcastic reply, “congratulations you just failed physical education”.
Whether you are an exercise enthusiast, a dedicated lifter, athlete or coach, sit-ups, when performed correctly, have their place in a training program. Please take special heed to technique as any deterioration of form will cause undue stress on the spine and the reason why many do not perform the movement. That in itself is the paradox of many exercise recommendations because while the public lacks that ability to bend and move properly, they are often recommended not to bend (or Squat) and thus in a circuitous manner are unable to do so.
The answer is not to eliminate the movement but in-fact, do them properly. Do not avoid problems, solve them and seriously, toughen up. Additionally, given that the exercise is used with physical testing of the military and law enforcement community, it is important to include them in an exercise regime and teach them correctly, the first time out of the chute.
To perform sit-ups correctly: While on your back, with your knees bent at a forty-five degree angle, press your feet, from heels to toes, flat on the ground. Clasp your hands behind your head and tighten the abdominal region by “sitting up”, not bouncing or rocking.
Start at one tomorrow and each day build upon them as what you do today, will be easier tomorrow and soon enough you will be joining me for “50 / 50’s”.