Abs, backs, and backpain poll

I do some daily 200 total sit-i-ups with differing leg positions (bent, crossed, and straight, then some lie-on-stomach leg lifts, then some diaphragm strengthening leg lifts while drinking the morning cofee. No back problems in a long time. Is it the coffee or the abs that keep back problems away? For those out there without proven back faults like ruptured discs, et al, do you do abs?

I only manage about 140
but I do them religiously. When I get lazy, I get muscle spasms in the left lower back and I walk like a centegenarian.

I have had this problem for about 35 years and when I am good at doing the ab workouts, there is no discomfort.

Good abs mean that the lifting load gets more evenly distributed between the back and stomach muscles and with that a reduced chance of injury.

Crunches for me
Strong abs are crucial for supporting the spine. I do fifty crunches every other day and that seems to keep my abs in good shape. When done properly I think crunches are safer and they focus more on the abs than sit-ups. The pelvic roll is another great exercise for stretching the lower back also. I had chronic back pain for years and these two exercises have kept me pain free for 10+ yrs. Gotta take care of your back by taking care of the front.

crunches for me too
170 every morning, plus a bunch of leg-lifts.

Total body weight circuit four days a week.

If I skip a morning I will have a back ache that day.

I vote for the coffee
since the closest thing I do to exercise is paddle (stretch band “rowing” in the winter).



good mattress
I’ve never been athletic or participated much in sports. My abs aren’t strong. But I’ve never had a back problem. A few twinges if I sleep on a bad mattress.


Abs and your back
Good abs are essential for good posture, thus freedom from back pain. However, you can have too much of a good thing. Overdoing your abs without a balance in back exercises can result in back pain. A great and easy to do back exercise is the Romanian Deadlift.

No abs due to lack of time
However, I have spent most of the year working out my core while exercising my upper boby. I have never had back problems because of kayaking, but sometimes it hurts after being 10 or 12 hours in front of my computer.

I guess that the key is a proper sitting position while paddling. Anyway, I should be doing some :smiley:



Balanced strength the key
Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. I had previous back pain, sports doc told me that my back muscles were stronger than my abdominals, out of balance. So I went whole hop on the crunches, for awhile I was pain free then pain returned, back again, he said, easy does it, it is the BALANCE you want not JUST the strength in the abs. Evidently, when not in balance one set of muscles pulls the back out of alignment which then is the beginning of the inflamation process. Eventually I get it, just slower than most.

I used to have sciatica
and a doctor who had the same problem told me that (among other things)weak abs cause the lower back muscles to work too hard and may cause lower back problems (i.e the lower back and the abs work together). Conversely, really strong abs take a lot of load off the lower back and can relieve lower back problems. It worked for me.


i’ve found indoor rowing to be great for both my abs and back. haven’t done situps or crunches at all since i started rowing.


yoga helps
Started practicing yoga 5 years ago instead of regular visits to the chiropractor or dealing with lower back pain. Regular yoga practice will strengthen all parts of the body and aid in maintaining flexibility.

abs and more
Obliques on the side. Thighs. Lower back muscles. For me the better shape my trunk is in the less problems I have. The Dr. Cox exercises are great as a supplement and stretching technique.

Misplaced my dead Romanian, can I use
a big Czech?

There’s a cutting-edge
back treatment program at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital here in Boston which uses intense physical rehabilitation, and claims a cure rate greater than that of all other therapies, even for ruptured discs.

I’ve had no back problems since becoming a kayaker. When I only biked, ran, and swam, I don’t think I got enough core body work. I don’t do any sit-ups, but I sometimes do several hundred rolls in an outing, so I know I’m using those abs.


Crunches vs sit ups
I have heard that sit ups only stabilize the other muscles but do not strengthen the abs, thus crunches are advised instead. Also, depending on how they are done can actually cause lower back problems rather than help them. Has anyone seen anything credible on this?

I daily do various abs crunches and back exercises on a swiss ball:


My back is singing from joy everytime I’ve done those back exercises. In the gym I do weighted crunches. In fact the abs crunch seems to the only exercise where all the paddling shows some real effect in the gym. I guess it comes from all the rotations.


Diagonal crunches?
Diagonal crunches: just pull upward and sideways, or lie sideways and pull straight up sideways?

“sit ups only stabilize the other muscles but do not strengthen the abs, thus crunches are advised instead.”

That doesn’t make sense to me. When you do a sit-up you ARE doing a crunch, since that’s how a sit-up begins.

remember to do this too
When doing ABs etc. To work the Abs properly and ONLY the abs do NOT go ALL the way up or full extension. Because when you go past the mid point you end up working the Soase Muscle (sp?) instead of the ABS even though it seems like your doing abs. This is turn can cause problems down the road if overworked and not doing opposing strength.

Yes abs are awesome for the back. If you dont like to do situp there are many other excersises that do just as good on the Abs. Lay flat on the floor on your back. Raise the leg and upper torso off the ground about 2-5 inches so the only thing on the ground is you butt area. Hold this for several minutes. Does wonders!