Watch these video to learn how each of these functional training exercises are actually harmful!
Common fitness training exercises like Sit ups/ crunches/ leg lifts, bicycles, etc are harmful- Why?
In this video I will show you how to do core training exercises and abs without killing your back or core muscles. Hi this is Doctor Steve Young, owner and founder of Body Solutions. I have been motivated to shoot this video because on Facebook, on YouTube and on various websites I have seen many video of really fit looking guys and girls typically in their 20s and 30s doing all kind of ab workout routine stuff, you know crunches, bicycle twists, leg lifts, leg trunk twists all with their premises for teaching you how to get abs.
However none of those approaches are healthy for you, they are not effective and I am going to show you why, in this video.
So let’s break down how do you get killer abs without killing your back muscles. First thing to understand here is the concept of what called spot reduction, right so spot reduction. It is a belief that you can actually burn fat from one specific area of the body. So numerous researchers has shown this is not possible. If we were able to, you know burn fat from one area of our body, and let’s say you tend to be extroverted and you talk a lot and you would have the leanest jaw line in the world, even if you are 200-300-400 pounds.
Right, because of your jaw muscles are continuously working as you are talking to people. So that is not just the case, our body can not selectively say let’s burn fat from here or just here or just here, that is just no possible. So then we look at well, how do we burn fat from this area, well it comes down to burning as many as calories possible. The more calories that you will burn more body fat that you will loose overall. And for some that will come from this area. So you would have maximized the amount of calories that you burn. So we know that spot reduction is just not possible.
So the concept is if you want to get abs, you want to maximize calories burned.
The best way to get abs perhaps the fastest way to get abs is burning calories.
So now let’s look at how do we do that! Well, imagine the all the sit ups that you are doing, all the crunches, bicycles, leg lifts, trunk twists they are all designed to isolate a specific part of your ab. The crunches work on your 6 pack ab muscles, then you will going to do twists to work your obliques, you might even do some side bends to work on the sides, you might even do some back extensions to do the back or lower back muscles.
All of those were designed to isolate one muscle at a time. How many calories do you think you are burning when you isolate a specific muscle? Well, actually science has looked at this, they researched and compared how long does it take to lose fat or burning fat walking on a treadmill vs doing sit ups. And what they found in that for every 10 minutes of sit ups that you do it takes about 1 minute of walking to burn the same amount of fat.
Wrap your brain around that, so it takes 10 amount of sit ups to burn the same amount of fat for walking just 1 minute. It is a great example for how sit ups or any kind of twists, trunk twists do not burn many calories. You are lying on your back, your legs are not working, arms not working, your back muscles not working, shoulders not working, you are just isolating specific muscles. So the calorie expenditure is very low, so from a maximizing calorie burn perspective, sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, twists are not effective.
Now let’s talk about functional perspective, how does our core work?
How are the muscles designed in your body? They are designed to support your spine. You see, you move throughout the day, the goal is to keep your spine stable as you move. Right when you lift up a box, when you push open a door, when you get out of your bed, when you get out of your car, the goal of the all trunk muscles, back muscles are to brace. It is almost like wearing a weight lifting belt. The guys in the gym lift heavy they wear that belt because that helps them lift more weight and support their spine like your back muscles.
Our core muscles/ back muscles exactly do this thing, we are born with this thing, natural weight lifting belt. So the goal is to prevent the spine from shifting or twisting like this. Imagine when you are doing sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, bicycles and all that stuff what’s happening as you moving your spine you are rubbing your back bone. You have this little joints here that rub, you have big joints that crushing down on the disk that rub repeatedly.
Imagine how much pressure and damages are going through your back. Science says sit ups, a single sit up its like 740 pounds of pressure. That is like saying 3 NFL lineman standing on your spine as you rub your spine repeatedly. Even worse if you are doing bicycles you are rubbing this way and you are twisting and much more rubbing through your spine. And over time it develops arthritis, that’s why you don’t see 60, 70 years doing leg lifts, crunches, sit ups and stuff right?
Because your back, your core just can’t take it, if you are in your 20-30, it can take it but it accelerates the breakdown of your back. As far as current technology goes, there is no back replacement yet. You can’t replace your spine, so what you want to do is conserve the amount of rubbing into your body. if you keep rubbing what happens is this that the disk gets worn out, this bone gets closer to this bone and pinched its nerves.
And if you keep damaging the joints, here they called the facet joints you develop bone spurs and again those bone spurs it’s a reaction of crushing bone against bone. If you keep doing that your body is like create more bones to protect itself. So the bone spurs will also pinch the nerve as your develop them. And as over time as your keep repeatedly bending forward like this, round your back forward like this, there are ligaments at the back of your spine and they respond like, look if you are going to pull on me throughout the day or you know do 50-60 sit ups they respond.
Because your body is made to adapt to the responses by getting bigger and thicker. Unfortunately when the ligaments get bigger, it’s called ligament inflammation. They take more space and pinch the nerve. So over time all those thing contribute to back arthritis. So we know you don’t want to do repeated motions like this when you are working your core.
Back muscles anatomy
Because your core muscles does not work this way from a functional perspective. From a functional perspective they should be all working at the same time so you can push and pull things in life without your spine shifting. That’s how you should train your core muscles. Here is the beauty of this. When you train your abs, your core correctly, you actually get abs much faster.
So the last concept is how do you get fast abs right? You work them the way they were designed to work. Right so, let’s say for example if you’re picking up a bag of groceries, or you want to be in the gym, you take a band, kind of pulling ,let say if I took it this way and simply brace my core and brought this way across my body like this. As its moving across my body my trunk right now have to brace pretty hard so my spine does not twist and moves.
Now if I were to do that as I am squatting and moving the way across my body, my legs are working, my core is working, my shoulders, my back so many muscles are working that you are going to burn way more calories and you are working your abs. So proper ab exercises are disguised. They don’t look b exercises, they look like leg, shoulder, back, chest, core exercises all at once.
And that’s the proper way to train your abs, it’s training them to build a skill to coordinating with all of these muscles and other muscles of your body. When you isolate them on the floor or just hanging and lifting your legs that’s not how they ever function in life. So you are actually making your ab muscles dumber. In other words you are training them to not work, not coordinate, not synchronize with other muscles of your body.
Not only it is ineffective of burning fat, you are making your back for higher risk for injury when you are doing sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts bicycles. So when you train with this functional exercises where weight is moving across your body, imagine you took a dumbbell and you bend over, you stood in a lunge position and you rowed that’s a great core exercise.
So those exercise which work your core indirectly, actually works on them in way that was designed for them for life. you are actually training them to be better skilled. So when you exercise for abs, shoulders, or whatever body parts you want to keep in mind that there is a high skilled key component to movement. Exercise in a gym, outside or in home isn’t just a toll to work that muscle.
When you move your body your body is leaning that movement. If you do the movements that don’t help you move in life you are actually making your body worse at moving life. and that’s what we do at body solutions, we teach, how to look at movement from skill perspective not for isolating muscles for looking better. It is about moving your body more efficiently more effectively.
I challenge you to refrain from how you train your core and get away from exercises that isolate these muscles (abs,core etc). Because you do not want to isolate, because when you move in life you do not isolate nay single muscle. They all moving at the same time helping your body coordinate in function. So one thing that I want to offer you, if you have any questions I want to shoot video on how to train your core, it is an exercising video.
Workouts to get abs
These are the exercises that don’t look like core exercises but they are. Every one of these exercises that you see engages your core to many different directions and trains you to be better in life. I hope you have this new insight on how to train your core and help me share this with other people. This is such a epidemic, I do not know if you have it noticed 9 out of 10 American will suffer from back pain enough to take you out from work.
That’s 90% of you watching this at some point of your life you will have back pain, not just some achenes that you have when you wake up back pain like I can’t do life. That’s a serious problem and some of that comes from this, improper ways of training your core, some comes from posture, some of it comes from sitting too much but this? You are in gym trying to do ab exercises there is a pretty large component to that.
I hope you have found this video helpful and want to learn more on how to exercise without hurting your body, you can attend a live workshop I am having by clicking below.
Another common exercise that I see done improperly in gym Side Laterals for your shoulders. Most commonly you will see people hold the dumbbells kinda do this, maybe rock a bit or maybe they are very strict with their form and there is no rocking. But if you notice the motion of holding the dumbbell serving this motion. I also have a shoulder model in my hand.
This is the right shoulder, this is the shoulder blade, the cubical, the shoulder now, when you do a common Side Lateral rise like this especially with the elbow bent, it can present you with 2 problems. 1 with the elbow being forward, you can see it is moving in front of my body little bit the shoulder joint comes up. You can see in the shoulder joint 2 groups, when you go in that position those two groups are like lumps, they kind of smashes into this bone called the acromion.
If you turn your thumb down and lift your arm up high as you can, that’s about it. If I lift my thumb up or keep this neutral and lift my arm behind me, all the way. So here, thumb down, that’s it, basically the bones are touching each other and crushing. So when you are doing a typical Side Lateral raise the movement pattern that you are doing it's actually crushing your shoulder.
Now in between this two bones, whenever I do this the rotator cuff, bicep tendons bursitis so if you reputedly do this movement you get bursitis because you are basically smashing those soft tissues. Another problem was doing is the elbows bent, when you have a weight in your hand with the elbow bent, not only the weight wants to do this to your arm it also wants to do this to your arm.
Two forces acting through your shoulder, one wants to add duck or bring your arm down and another one wants to rotate. So just like bending elbow with the weight now you are stressing the rotator cuff, the external rotator work very hard to prevent your shoulder from internally rotating. So now its already working very hard to stabilizing the joint. The main function of the rotator cuff is to prevent this guy from doing that.
If you are doing this, working on delts your rotator muscles doing this to prevent this sliding up and that’s what the deltoids wants to do. Connects from here to here and slide up the joints when it contracts the rotator cuff passing down here, it's like a tug of war. They hopefully tie and nothing moves just rotates. By placing the elbow bent you already taxing the external rotators that much more that if they fatigue doing this, again this going to happen and much more severely.
Now the way around that is do it in a modified way and I am going to show you that! I am going to give a side view so that you can see. You are going to have your elbow straight. You are going to lean forward and shrug up. The reason for shrugging up is that you are moving the other bone acromion out of the way, it is already tilting up. Lock your triceps this way your elbows won’t be bent and you won't have the rotation force through the shoulder.
And the reason we are going through this motion, this is as high as your shoulder can go. The full contraction of the shoulder. So in this motion you are avoiding 2 things the rotation as your elbow is straight. Also by going behind you and shrug up. By shrugging up you get this bone higher so it is out of the way. When you go behind slightly you get this bone out of the way so it does not crush this bone. It is a modified technique to keep your shoulder much safer, healthier so that you can train much longer. Read here: Kinesio Tape for Shoulder Stability
Do you do lunges in your workout, if you do you would be surprised to find that 99.9% chance that you are may be doing it in a way that is harmful for your body. So in this video I am going to share with you how to properly do a lunge which may actually improve your body’s health and not destroy it.
In gyms, in fitness magazines, in workout DVDs you will commonly see people doing lunges with holding a weight in hands or not, having your legs split like this and you are basically lunging with your upper body up and down. Very common, we see that all the time. Let’s talk about the forces or the mechanics or forces of what’s happening in your knees, in your hips when you lunge with this type of techniques.
How do Lunges work
Basically with being your upper body upright. One, it is really not functional. If you ever think about it if you had to lunge in life like you have to pick up something off the floor, can you actually reach the floor with your body being up right? Try that right now, you will find out you can’t. Because if you are to pick up a bag, a box or something on the floor through a lunge, you are going to have to lean forward to get that object. You cannot reach it while your body is straight up and down.
This one is not functional. In 2, let’s analyze what is happening in the knee and hip muscles. We have drew some lines here A, which is a knee joint. B, which is the Hip joint and C represents the center of mass which is kind of like the center weight of your body, the averages of all the places where the center weighted.
It is very important to recognize this dotted line as you can see the center of mass of your body goes roughly through B, which is your hip joint. What does this do? Well the hip muscles are things like your hamstrings, your glutes, butt muscles, hip muscles that are the muscles which put efforts in the hip joint.
And then you have muscles in your knee, like your thigh muscles, quadriceps in fronts. So if you lunge in a upright position, if you look at the distance between the A joint and this dotted line, that distance is very large. Whereas there is no distance between B and this dotted line because your center mass is going through that joint.
Now in physics what it does it, because of the line of the weight of your body center mass is going through the hip joint that means the hip muscles don’t have to work that hard. Because there is no distance, another way to settle this there is no what called torque on the hip joint as much. Where the distance between A and center mass is very high.
Which means it places tremendous amount of stress on your front thigh muscles also known as quadriceps. What is the significance of this?
Interestingly because your hamstring muscles do not work under this scenario much and your quadriceps muscles do all the work. Imagine inside of your knee a tug of war happening all the time.
When we get up from the chair, when we run, when we do things the hamstring muscles are at the one side of the tug of war, the quadriceps muscles are on the other side of tug of war. Ideally it should almost be a tie. If one side wins and other side loses, the knot the center of this tug war moves. And when you do lunges in this technique you quadriceps wins and your knee joint (5 bone on top of the lower leg bone and femur on top of the tibia, it sort of joint. Your femur and tibia and it’s kind of like this.)
So normally this joint should just spin, you do want this joint to slide like this. If the joints just spins you have a natural pivot if it slides you have a lot of friction. Friction also known as wear and tear of your joints accelerates the breakdown of the cartilages also known as arthritis. As you are lunging in this upright position quads win, all of your body weight and if you have weights in your hands all of that crushing down on your knee, possible thousands of pounds of pressure. And you have that when you rub your knee joint together with every repetition.
So this scenario creates accelerated knee arthritis, this is a great example of working out should be healthy for you but with improper technique it is destructive for your body. Sure you will get pretty looking muscles, your quads are pretty as they are developed. But you are doing in a way that is breaking down your body.
How do we fix this? Well you lunge with a different technique.
In this drawing if you have noticed this person with my ultra-high artistic skills are illustrating that your body actually leans forward. The beauty of this, this is very functional. You go and lift up a bag or box you have to lean forward, imagine a technique if you draw a straight line from your chest, your chest should kinda go through the knee.
Let’s analyze what this is doing, now your center of mass moves forward, so distance between A and this dotted line is smaller. That is saying that the quads work less hard and now you have distance with B which is your hip and this dotted line. That means the muscles on the other side, like the butt muscles, hamstrings they are working now.
So now you have some sort of tie within that tug of war that is happening inside of your knee.
So that you get much more of natural role and no sliding in the knee. So the benefit of this not only this is more functional, this is how you are going to move in life. this is the way to strengthen your muscles in way that does not destroy your knee.
You are not getting that rubbing, did you think about it when you work out there is a key component to movement. Imagine you are doing gymnastics, you are learning to swim, if you are throwing a football, in almost all sport activates if you are shooting a free throw there is a concern over proper technique and mere muscular movement.
Want to learn more?
You can attend a live workshop I have so you can learn how to spot these types of exercises and workout without damaging your body. You can register here.
Yes. I know this is shocking. You see this ALL the TIME in gyms, on TV, and in magazines. What you just saw was direct science on the mechanics of this common movement.
Fitness trainers do not get into the details:
However in fitness the global technique recommendations they do not really get into the finer finer details of movement. And that’s sort of my passion is educating you on how this finer details of movement can make the difference in a healthy body versus a damaged body. There is a difference between looking healthy, having lean muscles, low body fat percentage but you should get that in either technique right?
You can lunge this way, eat healthy and get a lean muscular body. The only difference is in this way your body will last a lot longer. In 10 years from now, 20 years from now even 5 years from now you are not going to have knee pain. You are not going to need replacements. This type of techniques is actually healthy for you while this is destructive.
I encourage you once you have this awareness, look around if you ever go into a commercial gym, watching fitness video or might be looking through a magazine you will find that this is the educated technique that are spreading in the world. This is simply from the fact that they are not analyzing movement at deeper level.
That is our passion is to teach people that this finer details of movements can completely change to unhealthy to healthy or healthy to unhealthy exercise.
You can learn more on how to avoid injuries and workout safer on a live workshop here.
Lastly there is Dips Below
There are many more exercises (too many to list here) that can cause injury to your body.
The best approach is to understand the process instead of memorizing all the different exercises (new damaging ones are made up and put online each day!).
To learn how to protect your body from harmful workouts, you can attend a live workshop I am having by registering below.