The U.S. Army has started phasing out sit-ups for some soldiers, and the Navy and Marine Corps are considering new fitness requirements. Personal trainers and military advisers now believe that sit-ups are dangerous, because they put too much pressure on the spine. They say men and women should replace them with the plank pose, which is when you stay in the upward part of a push-up.
An editorial in Navy Times, which covers the US Navy, recently called for sit-ups to be banned completely. It called them an ‘outdated exercise today viewed as a key cause of lower back injuries’. The Navy is said to be currently reviewing it fitness requirements. The US Marine Corps is also reviewing its physical fitness and body composition standards – in an attempt to improve fitness and reduce injuries.
General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps., said: ‘At the end of the review, the end state is for a Marine Corps Physical Fitness Program that ensures the overall health and fitness of our Corps.’
The Canadian Armed Forces have already done this, and phased out sit-ups; soldiers now lift 44-pound sandbags instead. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada said that dozens of studies showed that sit-ups can squeeze the discs in the spine. Over time they can bulge which presses on nerves, causes pain and can lead to a hernia.
Pete McCall, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, told the Wall St Journal that sit-ups are ‘an antiquity of exercise best left in the dustbin of fitness history’.
Tony Horton, creator of the popular P90X video workout series said he had banned sit-ups and crunches too.
He said: ‘I really believe that the traditional, antiquated crunch has seen better days, and it’s time to make a change’.
- Bates, Daniel. “US Army Phasing Out Sit-Ups Due To Spine Injuries”. Blog.bonati.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 8 June 2016.