Alternative to Situps – Part 3

Here are some alternative exercises to the traditional situp.

The first alternative exercise trains eccentric deceleration of the spine into extension. There is a progression that you must follow as you can see below.

This exercise is to train the movement and to establish core stabilization especially at the transition at the top of the movement. It is important to completely stand upright and initiate the movement bracing the core to prevent movement from the spine, it should be all hip.

The second exercise demonstrates the progression into the more dynamic version of the exercise using a band where you must brace on the rebound to prevent extension. The trick is to brace at the very upright position bracing at the last second.

So now you have an alternative you have no more excuses for doing situps or crunches. Next time I will cover another alternative exercise that trains more of the isometric function mentioned earlier.

By coachrouse

Bench Press Bad Press

I was reading a blog the other day when I came across a post titled “The Bench Press is a Useless Measure of your Strength”. The Author who by the way didn’t even look like he lifted a weight in his life – I believe because he thinks it’s not functional went on to provide a list of reasons why not to bench and offered several alternatives. Lets have a look at them and break them down.

Reason #1: The Bench is an excellent test of your ability to push a bar off your chest while resting on a bench. Thats about it.

Well this is some what true, that is if all you did was bench press. But increasing maximum strength levels on the bench press will carry over to other activities such as pushing someone from a standing position as may be seen in Football (that’s American Football) as long as the strength is trained to carry over. I can tell you one thing I wouldn’t want to be pushed around by a 400lb bench presser compared to someone who could only bench 180lbs. You can’t train strength carry over if you don’t have the strength to start with.


Reason #2: The bench in bench press immobilizes your shoulder blades and can make you more susceptible to shoulder issues as a result.

All I can say to this is this guys has no idea how to perform the bench press.

Reason #3: You already have an overdeveloped chest.

Do you really? Not if you train correctly to begin with. He claims that the back is more important – so? does this mean we don’t bench? No, all it means is that you train you back as hard and as heavy. I personally row as much or more than I press.

Reason #4: Death

WTF….. some idiot does something stupid and gets killed under the bench press…. wow maybe we should never use cars becuase idiots kill themselves every day in cars and even worse the also kill other people in the process (esspecially when it rains in LA). The benh press didn’t kill him, being an idiot killed him.

Well that’s it….. that was all he could say against the bench press yet none of his “excuses” actually hold water.

Next time I will talk about his so called “safe” alternatives.

By coachrouse

More Corruption from the Pharmaceutical Industry

An article in the New York Time yesterday titled Harvard Medical School in Ethics Quandary exposes more corruption from the pharmaceutical Industry

The basis of the story was that a first year pharmacology student at Harvard Medical School was belittled after asking the professor about the side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs that seemed to be promoting.

It was latter discovered that the professor was also a paid consultant to 10 drug companies, including 5 makers of cholesterol treatments.


What chance do we have when drugs companies are controlling what is being taught to our up and coming doctors. It’s no wonder the health care system is so screwed up and that the health of the nation and the world is the worst it has ever been.

By coachrouse

Alternative to Situps – Part 2

So what is the primary functions of the recus abdominis?

To answer this we need deturmine the primary function of the “core”. The core prevents movement, not creates movement. The core is there to protect the spine and not create more movement around the spine.

Just look at the logic at some of the exercises out there. The rotational chop (using lumbar rotation) or Russian twists, these movements attempt to take the lumbar spine beyond it’s range of motion which is in fact only 13 degrees 5 degrees of which comes from L5-S1. Take a look at the video below to see the movement I am talking about.

So with that thought in mind if we take a look at the primary function of the rectus abdominis then we can see from logic that flexion is not but rather “anti-flexion”.

So the 2 primary functions of the rectus abdominis are:

1. Eccentric deceleration of the trunk into extension.

2 Isometric stabilization on the lumbar spine and pelvis.

In “Alternative to Situps – Part 3” I am going to post a video with instructions of some alternative exercises you can perform along with progressions.

By coachrouse

Alternatives to Situps

In the previous post Dangerous Exercises I wrote about how you should avoid situps and simular spinal flexion exercises all together. Now I will provide you will some alternatives to replace these out dated, dangrous exercises.

Let’s fist look at the situp/crunch…. In the previous post I provided just one study that demonstrated the compressive forces that these exercises produce and you have to remember that people often do thousands of these over a week.

You need to look at also just the plan logic for doing this exercise. Where in life or sport do you produce spinal flexion this way? I have heard everything from a soccer ball throw in, a throw in Jujitsu or even the most ridicules one was getting out of bed.

Let’s look at the first one, soccer ball throw in. Just take a look at the video below and you will see what I am talking about.

Here is a great example of a Jujitsu throw. Look closely and you will see that it’s a rotatory pattern using the hip and thoracic rotation. No loaded flexion there.

The last one, getting out of bed I’m even going to bother going there.

So now we have figured out that loaded flexion is not really a primary or even secondary function of the rectus abdominis (does not mean the rectus abdominis does not produce flexion, just not a primary concern); so what is?

More on this in my next post….

By coachrouse

Type 2 Diabetes Muscle Conspiracy

An interesting study from the University of Calgary suggests that muscle in obese people and Type 2 diabetics may be conspiring against them.


Research by kinesiology investigator Dustin Hittel, PhD, has proven that muscle in extremely obese individuals produces large amounts of a protein called myostatin, which normally inhibits muscle growth—suggesting that for Type 2 diabetics, and the very obese, the task of getting healthy may be more difficult than initially thought.

It has been known for some years that naturally occurring mutations in the gene which controls myostatin results in double—muscling in cattle, dogs and even humans. Many in the body building community believe that blocking myostatin is a shortcut to the Arnold Schwarzenegger body.

The flipside is that producing too much myostatin has been linked with muscle wasting conditions such as HIV-AIDS, starvation and now, Type 2 diabetes.

Hittel believes this may be due to a pre-diabetic condition known as insulin resistance that “tricks” the muscles into thinking the body is starving despite the fact that blood sugar levels are skyrocketing.

“When that happens, the body reverses muscle production using myostatin,” says Hittel. “This is particularly worrisome because losing muscle mass further erodes your ability to control your blood sugar with exercise.”

One of the tell-tale signs of the transition between insulin resistance and full-blown Type 2 diabetes is a loss of muscle mass. “

Losing muscle mass makes sense from an evolutionary perspective since having large muscles during famine puts you at a serious risk for starvation,” explains Hittel. “Unfortunately, this survival mechanism has left us ill-equipped to deal with a Western lifestyle—lots of calories, little exercise—and it has laid the groundwork for the current epidemic of Type 2 diabetes.”

“The goal of my research is to understand how obesity, diet and exercise influence our metabolism and interact with our genome. This research sheds some light on an important part of the puzzle.”

So what does this mean? Simple…. do strength training to control Type 2 diabetes rather that the traditionally prescribed aerobic training. By doing so you also increase muscle receptor sensitivity to insulin.

By coachrouse