Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flexion & the Spine

"To Crunch or not to Crunch: An Evidence Based Examination of Spinal Flexion Exercises, Their Potential Risks, and Their Applicability to Program Design"- Contreras, Schoenfeld JSCR 8-11.

I probably have disagreed with every article these two guys published.  Which is why its important never to throw the baby out with the bath water sort of speak.  I have to admire this work, they really took on some sacred cows regarding spinal flexion exercise in general.  They make a lot of great points...

"The studies in question attempted to mimic the loading patterns of occupational workers by subjecting spinal segments to thousands of continuous bending cycles, which is far beyond what is normally performed in the course of a normal exercise program".

They also note research by Battie & Videman which indicates much of disk injury to be related to genetic factors and not exercise.

They note that many of the en vitro spine studies involve porcine models (which have very different mechanics than the human spine), or human cadaveric spines with most  of the supportive structures removed.

They conclude by saying that based on current research its premature to conclude that the human spine has a limited # of bending cycles...and variety in spinal loading is associated with a lower risk of spinal pathology.  And you want to do a good warm up before doing spinal flexion exercises early in the morning, or after prolonged periods of sitting; or save them for later on in the day.

Great work guys.

9 comments:

sal m said...

Was the flexion measured while subjects were in a standing position? Was this study attempting to measure effectiveness of crunches?

Joe Przytula said...

They were saying don't be afraid to do crunches. They also stated, and I agree, that a lot of this spine stuff is based on factory workers, where because of environmental contraints, are repeating the same task in the same pattern for 8+ hours a day 5 days a week. Fine, but stability models, & recommendations for sports have been based on this. Some times it fits, but a lot of times it doesn't.

noz2info said...

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Joanna said...

Hi Joe i don't think you're going to remember me. My name's Joanna i played volleyball in Elizabeth HS in 07 and 08. i've spent more hours in your office working on my ankle than probably in a gym class :) it was very interesting to bump into your blog like that. Hope your well.

Joe Przytula said...

Hi Joanna, glad you found us! Just got a new position; supervisor of P.E., which is why I haven't posted since August...but I'll get things rolling soon so check back once in a while!

Corry said...

Drinking alkaline water for better rehydration seems to be gaining momentum in the athletic community. Recently, I have had parents asking how I can get alkaline water to all our student athletes during practices and games.

All the water ionizer machines I have found online are extremely expensive and take forever to fill up just one 10gallon water jug. The pH drops I found do not seem practical either, 1 bottle ($30) can make up to 15 gallons of water with pH reaching up to 8.5.

I work at a private school in Texas and we generally have 60-70 kids come out for HS football. I generally use (4) 20 gallon water cows (waterboys) during practices and many occasions have to refill them in the months of August and September.

Does anybody know of or have suggestions how to practically offer alkaline water to your athletic teams during practices and games?

-CK

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