“The biggest misconception in core training is that you need movement to effectively strengthen your core.” – Dr. Rick Yost, D.C.
You probably know that increasing core strength is an extremely effective way to reduce low back pain and injury risk in the future. But did you know that there are right ways and wrong ways to train your core? The biggest misconception in core training is that you need movement to effectively strengthen your core. In reality, the more movement that occurs the greater the risk of injury.
Injury risk increases when load and/or shearing force occur in the spine. The movement that increases your risk the most is rounding the lower back. Examples of exercises that encourage rounding of the low back:
- Toes to Bar
*Please note that some of these exercises — when performed with proper form — should NOT involve rounding of the spine. Unfortunately it is very likely these exercises are being performed improperly.
Dr. Stuart McGill, an authority on lower back injuries, rehabilitation and exercise has one of the top research labs in the world. His research proves “herniation (of a disc) occurred with relatively modest joint compression, but with highly repetitive flexion/extension movements.”
Said differently, if you round the lower back repeatedly you are likely to herniate a disc. Dr. McGill has also shown that movements that require both repetitive flexion and extension have the potential to produce more annular damage than those which require flexion.
If activities involving low back rounding have been demonstrated as a primary risk factor for low back pain, why would you repeatedly perform these exercises? Would it not make more sense to train the core to AVOID rounding and reduce injury risk? Using Dr. McGill’s research we have identified what we believe to be the 3 best core exercises in terms of safety and effectiveness.