There have been a convergence of several things which have led me to start thinking a bit differently about abdominal exercises.  In no special order.

One of the guys on the TNT Forum, jediknightxvi really hurt his lower back doing one of the TNT exercises.  He ended up in the ER and is on pain killers and rest.  He is one confused guy who has never had this happen to him before.

Friends stayed with us this past holiday weekend.  He is a guy who has consistently exercised and plays golf.  I got him a guest pass at my gym.  He has a “bad” back and handles himself accordingly.  Every morning he does 30 minutes of stretching and limbering exercises on a Swiss Ball.  His workout is almost solely on machines where he can stabilize his back.  He went to the gym once and all was fine.  The next day, he is sitting on the edge of the bed, twisted sideways to grab something and that was the end of him.    Heating pads, rest, pain killers and two visits to a Chiropractor – and he was still having a problem.  I handled all of his suitcases and other heavy stuff in re-loading his car this morning.  He was wearing a weight lifting belt to help with the stuff he did carry.

Mike Hopper in his Blog several posts ago made mention of the fact that crunches and similar exercises were falling out of favor.  That they actually could be doing more harm than good.

T-Nation published an Article, Anti-Ab Training.  Its premise, Real core training is all about the “anti”; anti-flexion, anti-extension, and anti-rotation.”

In the recent issue of Men’s Health in the article that I discussed in a recent post, the core exercises that were recommended echoed the T-Nation theme.

I have spent a lifetime with a bad back and followed the general plan that my friend now follows.  No matter how strong I got, the back still gave me continual problems.  I switched to free weights and focused on building up my core stabilizing muscles – at least I believe I was doing that.  My back – knock on wood – or anything else you want to knock on – has been OK – even with dead lifts and squats and all sorts of other dangerous exercises.  BTW – those dead lifts allowed me to pick up my friend’s 61 pound suitcase by two hands and carry it up a flight of stairs holding it at chest level.  🙂

BUT – should I ditch the swiss ball crunches and related exercises?  What about the Hanging Leg Raises?  Wood Chops?

I have to do a lot more reading – maybe – just maybe – I will actually read the NROL for Abs that is sitting on my book shelf.