There is definitely conflicting advice about what is best to tone your abs, strengthen your core, what can actually do more harm than good, what is not worth the effort. It’s confusing!! As I was doing the 30 day challenge, I was doing sit ups for the first time since elementary school – no lie – back when we did the Presidential Fitness Award – do kids even still do that????
In the beginning I was thinking wow these are strengthening my back, but I wasn’t sure how much good they were doing for my abs. As I increased reps, my back was not happy. I wasn’t in pain and nothing major was going on – my back just wasn’t happy – more than normal soreness. So I did a bit of research – just enough to confirm my thought that sit ups were putting too much pressure on my spine and not worth it when my end goal is a strong, lean core.
My personal opinion (based for more on personal experience than research) is that a variety of exercises is key to a strong core – combo of different types of planks, push ups, crunches, leg raises, and plyometrics/calisthenics. Too much of any thing does not mean better – and I do think people often focus too much on crunches and not enough on other aspects of core muscles.
I am going to finish out the 30 day challenge – 5 more days – and then come up with a routine that incorporates the listed above and does NOT let me loose the arm strength I have built over the past 30 days of doing so many push ups!