Sit-ups, a staple for fitness enthusiasts, may well become history as they are facing a lot of flak from fitness experts, chiropractors and doctors. Even exercise gurus and military experts are arguing on the fact that sit-ups are not only a waste of time but also potentially harmful. They contribute largely to back pains and muscle strains. Thus, if you think you will double that sit-up routine to burn those excess calories from junk foods after the holiday season, think twice. Stop doing sit-ups. Instead, try the planks, as they are a far better option than crunches.

Although traditionally the Pre-Entry Fitness Assessment & Multistage Fitness Test by Australian army, navy and air force requires doing 20 – 45 sit-ups, depending on the unit applied for, now even defence experts are re-thinking on the requirement.

According to a Navy Times report published on Dec. 05, 2015, planks more accurately measure core strength than sit-ups and helps greatly in building the core muscles. Moreover, planks do not strain muscles by motion like sit-ups do because in case of planks, one needs to hold one’s body arrow straight while resting only on forearms and toes. Sit-ups are a major cause of lower back injuries. They are outdated and should be given up.

“V-Ups force the spine through repetitive flexion and extension while sustaining low magnitude compressive forces which, according to back expert, Dr. Stuart McGill, may result in disc herniation,” says World Record Powerlifter Jordan Syatt, in a 2013 article on

A Harvard Medical School health publication also recommends planks in the sit-ups vs. planks debate. It says that planks must be a part of core exercises for men, core exercises for women or core exercises for beginners. Planks recruit a better balance of muscles on the sides, front and back of the body whereas sit-ups target only a few muscles. People mistake core exercises to be only core exercises for abs, which is untrue. The core extends far beyond just abdominal muscles.

Moreover, those who practice core exercises at home or at the gym should bear in mind that a good core workout strengthens the entire set of core muscles one uses everyday through dynamic patterns of movement. Daily activities, recreational or sports activities always make muscles work together and not independently. Sit-ups strengthen only a few muscle groups. Sit-ups push the curved spine against the floor and put a lot of pressure on lower spine leading to discomfort and possible injury.

A 2010 study by PubMed also points out the fact that roll-outs and pikes using a swiss ball are the best ways to engage core muscles.

Contact the writer of this story at or let us know what you think below.