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I've been trying to find safe abdominal exercises. That is to say, executing the exercises I have learned through my life I can feel the vertebrae in my lower back rubbing/grinding against each other, mostly on the right side. That usually means pain the morning after. So I ask, does anyone have any suggestions for "safe" abdominal exercises?

Thanks

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Reverse Crunches, Hanging Leg Raises, Bicycle Crunches. –  user4963 Apr 17 '13 at 14:51
    
um... have you seen a doctor? –  DForck42 Apr 19 '13 at 15:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Some people believe that concentric ab work is unnecessary. Abs, by Mark Rippetoe outlines the common reasoning and alternatives to concentic ab work. Here's some summary and excerpts.

  • The primary role of the abs is isometric stabilization.
  • "Since the basic nature of correct ab function is isometric, the exercises in which the abs perform this function will provide exercises for the abs as well."
  • "As the loads [on a squat or deadlift] pass 200 and then 300+ pounds, it becomes enough of a challenge for the now more experienced lifter that a helluva lot of ab work is required to squat and pull properly."
  • Chin-ups, while not supporting the spine also require isometric ab work to hold the body in position. During later reps, there even is a little bit of eccentric/concentric contraction as your abs become tired and relax/tighten every rep.
  • "But for most lifters – and I mean the vast majority who will never squat 600, or even 500 – the stresses normally encountered under the bar provide all the work the abs need."
  • "For those of you with recurring low back problems, see what six situp-free months does to your back problems."

I find this to be true. When my deadlift started to get heavy, I noticed my abs got sore! This happens now with my heavier squat sets. Chin-ups and pull-ups always leave my abs sore. I haven't done a sit-up in three months, but my plank has increased from a 1m30s to 3m (and I don't train the plank; I just test it occasionally).

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+1 awesome advice. Same for me, I don't really do much core exercises, but I squat/deadlift/pull-up so much that people don't believe me when I tell them I don't do sit-ups. I would just like to add the age old addage applies: "Great Abs start in the Kitchen". –  user4963 Apr 17 '13 at 16:52
    
Thank you Katie. I'm not strong enough to do chin ups or pullups but I do a lot of Australian pull ups. I'm thinking what I need to do is specifically engage my abs when I do them and hold a plank as long as I can as my last exercise. –  Dave Apr 17 '13 at 19:26
    
Make that Kate. I can't type –  Dave Apr 17 '13 at 20:53

Planks! As long as you have proper form they are very good at building strength for your core without having to do crunches.

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Thanks. That gives me a lot of choices –  Dave Apr 17 '13 at 21:07

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