spine pain during weighted situps

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by NinjaBlack, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. NinjaBlack

    NinjaBlack Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I did a quick search through the threads and the closest one was 2 years old with no good information.

    I usually do weighted decline situps and russian twists w/ 25lb plate once per week. I put it on my chin/chest and everything feels fine. When I put the plate behind my head my spine really hurts.
    I used to have a similar problem even with the weight on my chest when I first started lifting and the original problem was that my back muscles were not strong enough. A few weeks of deadlifts easily solved that problem, but now my concern is that since I havent heard of anyone else having back pain when they put the plate behind their head- is there a part of the back I am neglecting?

    Anyone had a similar experience or understand what I'm talking about?
     
  2. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
  3. NinjaBlack

    NinjaBlack Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Ok, so Rippetoe says that ab work isn't neccessary for strength training and may even be counter productive for some lifters.

    That article can be interpreted a lot of different ways though. He didn't do any type of weighted situp for a year, then did some out of the blue and got a minor injury. Is that surprising? (I'm not hating on Rippetoe, In fact that story really puts into perspective what can happen if my back is feeling uncomfortable during even a light weight situp so I appreciate the article, I had actually never read it before)

    The nature of my question was that, when I first did situps with any type of weight, my back hurt during the exercise. Eventually after doing squats, deadlifts, etc the pain stopped hurting. Now, I shift the weight to behing my head and a similar type of pain occurs... Is there an easy solution to fix this the way that squats/DL fixed the first problem? Or would it be more wise to just not do it if it doesn't feel right...
     
  4. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't have any experience with this, but if I was to guess I would think it has to do with the weight being further away from the fulcrum (your waist/hips) when it is behind your head, creating a longer lever arm and putting more torque on your lower back. Similar to low-bar/high-bar squatting.
     
  5. NinjaBlack

    NinjaBlack Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    double post, my internet is not working well
     
  6. MASShole

    MASShole Get it?

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    8,103
    Likes Received:
    1,318
    Location:
    Colorado
    Don't do it.
     
  7. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,524
    Likes Received:
    683
    There is no magic reason why you don't feel pain with the weight on your chest but you do with the weight behind the chest. Unless that makes you significantly change your form (which shouldn't happen if you're strong enough to handle it), then the greater moment arm increases the torque in your lower back and effectively makes it like as if you are moving significantly more weight.

    That covers the "weight on chest is not painful, weight behind the head is painful" part.

    When it comes to the weighted situps as an exercise in general, you know you should have a specific reason for doing each and every exercise you include in your training program. What is the reason for you doing them?
     
  8. Keith Wassung

    Keith Wassung <img src="http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/4586/

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Messages:
    1,591
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    I love weighted incline sit-ups-let me share a few things.

    1. You must do them with a great deal of control, with little or no "rebounding" or momentum as possible. Remember when we were kids in PE and we had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, you had 2 minutes to do "AS MANY SIT-UPS AS POSSIBLE" and just every every test that includes sit-ups, has this as a protocol--very counterproductive and can be dangerous. You want to do them with control. Instead of just "going back" and "coming up" thinking of uncoiling each vertebra one at a time ( not physically possible, but you get the idea) Its "almost" like doing a crunch believe it or not, except the entire torso is moving.

    2. Put some padding, rolled up towel, etc under your lumbar spine for support, a foam pad works as well.

    3. Start with sets of 12-15 and again, the key is control. Dont pause at the bottom, dont bounce at the bottom, just upper back "kiss" the back of the bench and using core power--come back up. You also have to learn to maintain a relaxed and neutral cervical spine and this takes some practice and focus.

    4. Once you master this, raise your arms over your head-as if you are being robbed. Do your sets this way. then start adding a small plate in each hand ( 2.5lbs to start) l with the arms extended in front of you (like you are doing a dumbell bench press) Once you have mastered that, extend the arms overhead slowly add weight and let me know if you ever get past 20lbs in each hand.

    I like to do 12-15, rest for 30 second or so then repeat for about 5 sets with the last sets being 2-3 reps. Once you break form, ie, you cannot raise yourself back up with midsection strength, the set is over. not the time to force reps

    hope that helps

    keith
     
  9. Falufalump

    Falufalump Green Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,337
    Likes Received:
    11
    Should you even be doing sit ups? There are many, many other ab exercises that don't involve flexion of the lumbar spine. Doing additional ab work can be helpful,and fun. However, sit ups are not ideal, I think.
     
  10. Indivdude

    Indivdude Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    604
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Above the ground
    Well, I would just not do them. If there is pain while trying to do them (assuming you have good form of course), then don't do them. Either you don't have good form which is why you have the pain, like miaou pointed out, or there is something else wrong going on.
     
  11. Hamsterdam

    Hamsterdam Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    0
    The weight might be messing with your neck, or you might not be ready for that weight. The further away from your chest, the harder it is to do a sit-up. Also, you might not want to go down as far when you do a sit-up because your spine might be arching too much. I have the same problem but those usually fix it.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.