So many people do sit-ups for squash because it’s the standard-bearer for abdominal strength.
However, repeatedly forcing your spine into forward-flexion is not a movement pattern that is functional – not only that, it’s actually harmful for your spine and, therefore, your whole body.
In the following video, you can see a demonstration of the damage that sit-ups for squash do to your spine:
‘Kinking’ Your Spine Is Not Sustainable
Bending your spine into forward flexion, repeatedly, over a long period of time will eventually ‘kink’ it; just like bending a coat-hanger repeatedly eventually causes it to weaken or even snap.
When you perform a crunch or a sit-up, you are mimicking the exact motion for a disk bulge or a herniation
In a study conducted in 2001 by Dr. Stuart McGill – “Dr. Spine” – on herniation and its relationship to repetitive spinal flexion, he found that the damaging mechanism leading to a herniation requires repeated flexion with only very modest loading on the spine. This trauma accumulates over time with very little indication to the individual, and weakens the discs…
…even with light-loading
(eg. your bodyweight).
If They Suck Then Why Does, Say, The Army Do Them?
It seems like a reasonable question because they want their soldiers to be as strong as possible, right? I mean, it’s literally a matter of life & death.
The only reason the army gets their soldiers to do sit-ups is because sit-ups are easily measured. There’s a distinct pass/fail mark for them.
But that is all.
It’s like seeing soldiers standing to attention sometimes. Their bodies are upright but more often than not, their stances are not as naturally straight as they could be.
Sit-ups for squash are an unnatural motion. And they cause unnatural movement.
What Else Can You Do Instead Of Sit Ups For Squash?
There are many alternatives to sit-ups for squash. Let me give you 2 great ones.
For a specific core workout that is derived specifically from Dr. Stuart McGill’s findings, watch the “Wake Me Up” Abs Video Series…
And for something even more applicable to running around a squash court during a match with power & balance while you’re out of breath, check out the Big Breath Abs Workout Series.
Have fun & play your own game!
Mick enjoys showing squash players simple, effective exercises to feel stronger, faster and more durable on court to help them play better & win more matches.
He was ranked #2 in Australian juniors and has spent over 20 years training in various martial arts so his background provides a fresh, unique perspective.
You can find his core programs at…