Are sit-ups and crunches bad for my back?
Sit-ups and crunches are generally considered the primary core exercise. They are often prescribed by well meaning personal trainers and coaches attempting to offer solutions to clients suffering low back pain or as a preventative measure against low back pain.
The reality is that the mechanics of performing sit-ups and crunches not only doesn’t alleviate low back pain but in the case of a disc prolapsed (slipped disc) in which bending forward, lifting or coughing aggravates the pain, performing sit-ups and crunches can significantly worsen the problem and at very least, retard the body’s attempt to heal the damaged disc outer wall (the annulus).
It is much more preferable to achieve core stability through planks and side planks without compromising the healing process in your damaged disc.