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?


  • Reverse Crunches, Hanging Leg Raises, Bicycle Crunches.
    – user4963
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 14:51
  • um... have you seen a doctor?
    – DForck42
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


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).

  • +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
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 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
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 19:26
  • Make that Kate. I can't type
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 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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