Holy Anti-Extension Batman!

Here’s a blog post I wrote about 10 years ago.

Remember the old Batman TV series?

Batman’s oversized computer would calculate complex problems and print out answers on a small sheet of paper.

You won’t need a 1960s supercomputer to do some quick math.

Add up how much time during the day you spend sitting down. At home, work, school, in the car.  

Don’t forget to include how often you are using that smartphone.

What’s the total time and how is your position or posture during all of this?

You’re probably spending too much time in the “C” posture. Not a good start when beginning your training routine.

When I was 16 and wanted to get in superhero shape, maybe lose some weight around the waistline- what was the first exercise I thought of doing?


I wouldn’t recommend this for 16 year old Oscar knowing what I know now. But if you’re over 40 and want to try crunches and sit-ups as your go to exercise?

Let me stop you right there!

Crunches and sit-ups can easily force your lower back into flexion.

Dr. Richard Guyer of the Texas Back Institute says that rounding the lumbar region of the back during sit ups can place severe strain on the spinal cord and nerves.

The lumbar region has a large group of nerves, and excessive strain there can cause nerve damage. 

One of the world’s leading researchers on back pain and the core, Dr. Stu McGill has a method in the lab setting for actually causing spinal disk damage.

It is repeating flexion.

He says spinal disks have a “fatigue life”, meaning they can only handle a finite number of bends. Repetitive movements of the spine can weaken the disks, ultimately leading to rupture or herniation.

Oh, and you are spending how much time in that “C” posture already?

Your abdominals are not meant to be movers. They are meant to be stabilizers.

Strength Coach Mike Boyle says the abs are meant to keep your guts in.

The key word here is “ANTI”: Anti-extension (back bend), anti-flexion (forward bend) and anti-rotation (twisting).

Your mid and upper back would ideally have the capacity for a lot of movement but let’s stay focused on the abdominals. 

Functionally, how many times do your abdominals act to bring your rib cage to your pelvis? Only when you get out of bed.  

And the best trainers in the world are focusing their core training now on preventing motion instead of creating motion. So ideally we need a core exercise that doesn’t involve flexion.

You want to focus on stability. Your body needs to be able to move force from the ground to the extremities without unnecessary movement of the lower spine or pelvis.  

One of the best exercises is the plank. So simple I know!

Start with your elbows  and feet down, and shins up. Make sure your back is as straight as a….what would be a good analogy here? Oh, I guess a plank will do.

If you are not sure if you are doing this right have a super friend hold a stick on your back and make sure it is making contact with the back of your head, upper back and glutes.

If this is easy then you might be ready for the plank with elbow strike as shown to me by my friend, Jose Fuentes.

Start in a plank position, and then extend your right arm out in front of you slowly. Hold the arm out for a second and then pull your arm back leading with your elbow.

Think of an elbow strike down towards your ribs. Try to create the tension of a crunch without making any movement in your low back during the elbow strike.

You should still have those three points of contact with the stick.

Repeat on the left side for a total of 10 repetitions. 

Don’t get bored with this simple movement.

You can always visualize the stunning fight scenes from that TV show. BAM! POW!


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