IDK how to create links so if anyone wants to put the NYTimes video link to Dr McGill's "don't do crunches" bit please feel free.
This is a tangent to the easy ab thread.
The video warns against doing crunches and suggests other moves.
ddc, thank you so much for posting that link. However, I'm am totally not convinced.
Perhaps the doc should have shown more physical evidence to support his bulging disc theory. Like, MRI's, actual examples of people who've been injured, etc.
Notice on the plastic spine model in the beginning, he is holding the vertibre in a hyper extended position which is impossible to be in if lying on a mat. Also note that the hyper extended position is dangerous in ANY exercise and great care is taken on professional's part to avoid that - it's what good form is all about. He's not representing the actual action of a crunch in his demonstration with the spine model.
I point this out because any time you have someone exaggerating the evidence, it makes me smell b.s. but at least he's not selling anything so I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I also take into account the physique of the "expert". While he is not obviously unfit, he's also not obviously fit. In fact, he could just as well be a skinny unfit person (like I was for periods of time in my life). His suggestions while probably effective for the beginner or the aged, would have me falling asleep. They're not going to fatigue the core very effectively nor quickly. I'd say a fit person can do those exercises for 20 minutes and still not get fatigued enough to build strength and edurance like crunches and other ab work can.
He seems to me someone who has tested a theory in the lab but not in real life.
I don't mean to attack your belief in this. I just want to make sure that what you choose to do to strengthen your core is worth your time and effort. I also want to invite any others to comment.
It's all about learning for me. I want to see/hear/learn from everyone so that I can be a better trainer. And I know I have a long way to go.