Why You Should Never Do A Situp Again

Today I wanted to share with you some simple but highly effective training secrets from inside the personal training vault.  Some of you might already be doing this, but it is without doubt the most important facet of your training, that is to establish core strength

This is very important in not only helping your body move efficiently and prevent injury but also to achieve that amazing flat looking stomach. Core strength has been a buzz word for a while now and most people have an understanding of what it is about, but for those of you that don’t, put on your anatomy hat, make a cup of tea and get comfy!

situpsFor this example I would like for you to imagine your spine like the mast of a ship, I would also like you to imagine your rectus abominus (your six pack muscle) as one of the guide ropes from the mast to the deck. If you continually do situps and crunches this muscle will become really, really tight, or the rope on the mast.  If you could imagine then that the mast on the ship is only supported by this one rope and is actually being pulled down toward the deck by this rope which is so tight.  If the wind was to blow from any other direction that mast would be most unstable as it has only that one supporting rope to hold it up.  This is where core training becomes so effective, if you would imagine the mast on the ship with a small but strong opposing rope behind the mast and we will call this rope multifidus, the mast now has support from the front and the back.

Then if we attach a high rope from the side and a lower rope from the side of the mast to the deck and we will call them external and internal oblique’s.  If my description and your imagination correlate you should now see that the mast is supported in all directions by ropes that are equally strong and gently supporting in all directions, the mast (your spine) is stable now if the wind was to blow from any direction.  And it is for this reason that sit-ups are a waste of time as they only make you strong in one direction (and they are terrible for your neck and lower back- but don’t even get me started on this), the answer is to complete what is called a stability hold. This is where you support your body on your elbows and on you toes, you hold your self fixed in this position for about 1 minute.

There is one very important step to do before completing this and that is teaching you how to instigate your transverse abdominus muscle (T.A) this is another rope that attaches from the front of the mast to the deck, it’s smaller than the rope for rectus abdominus but very important for stability and function of the mast.  Relating that back to your spine, it’s a little muscle that sits on the inside of your pointy bits of your hip bones near where your pants would sit on your waist.  If you put your fingers just underneath your belly button then track 10 cm’s toward the left you should find the pointy hip bone I was talking about.

If you push with two fingers just on the inside (belly button side) of your hip bone, and then take a big cough for me (think terrible cold, nasty cough type) you should feel this muscle activate under your fingers. It is this very action you need in order to properly perform a stability hold, obviously we can’t have you coughing all the time to ensure that you have your T.A instigated but with practice you will be able to naturally instigate and hold the contraction for this muscle and without holding your breath.


As I said you should start slowly and build up as you feel yourself becoming stronger and stronger, goal is over a minute without the shakes!!


Good luck and here’s to a flat looking stomach

Andrew Zagami


PS: Finding it hard to get the motivation to get moving? For this week only, I am offering one week* of personal training . Let me get you moving – hey, it’s what I do best. Click here to register