Reports of a 25-year-old Taiwanese man who was almost paralyzed after doing sit-ups have recently led to heated online debate. Some people argue that it’s time to say goodbye to physical education classes in primary and middle school, but one expert says that’s the wrong reaction; instead, people need to learn to do sit-ups the right way.
Last year, a U.S. media outlet stated that people should stop doing sit-ups entirely, arguing that U.S. military experts have scrapped the exercise, which can lead to back injuries.
A sports and physical health professor with Beijing Sport University explained that it is bad to do sit-ups with one’s hands behind one’s head, because if the exercise is not done right in that position, it can result in spinal injuries. The professor also pointed out that sit-ups are unlikely to cause paralysis even when done incorrectly, as the canalis spinalis protects the spine from excessive pressure.
The professor added that planks and sit-ups strengthen different muscle groups, and therefore have different training effects. He also suggested that physical education teachers guide students to properly draw on their abdominal muscle strength when they do sit-ups.