Mere Sit-ups Won’t Keep Your PT In The Bacon

New Yorker Ashrita Furman Does Squat Thrusts On An Elephant…And His PT Doesn’t Get A Dime!

What ever happened to sit-ups and squat-thrusts. These used to be the staple of  ‘strong stomach muscles’ (old school nomenclature for a ‘strong core’).

But not anymore.  Personal trainers and Physical Therapists have grabbed the elephant by the trunk…and have ‘thunk up’ a whole lot of core exercises.  They’ve made the sit-up crew look out-dated, and you’re paying for it.

Gone are the days when your little son could earn fifty cents holding your feet down while you sweat through five sets of sit-ups.  Now you pay your Physical Therapist $150 a session to get tutored in his personal derivative of the ‘bird dog exercise‘ or the ‘plank position’.

But I Stand Corrected

Old farts like myself have been shamed into admitting that the stomach muscles (muscles directly in the wall of the stomach) don’t benefit from doing sit-ups.

Those muscles only benefit from trying to digest food products best tackled by the multi-chambered stomachs of ungulates.  This is best understood by watching a cow dining on the clovers of the field…or a vegetarian trying to send a cucumber and sprout sandwich through his alimentary canal.

Both the cow and the vegetarian develop very strong stomach muscles independent of doing sit-ups or squat trusts (called ‘burpies’ in some parts of the world).  We may never know exactly what happens between the moment the clover or sandwich disappear, and when they reappears out the other end.

But the ugly fact that the digested clover usually ends up splattered all over the hind end of the cow doesn’t make me want to elevate my ‘true stomach muscles‘ to bovine proportions.  In like manner, the pinched, stern look of self-righteousness on the face of some vegetarians hinders me from deviating from my bacon and cheese sandwiches.

Just to be clear…I do know the difference between tripe and flank.

Your PT cares very little about the muscles in the walls of the stomach. Your Gastroenterologist does.

Your PT cares about what was previously called the ‘abdominal muscles’, and is now more accurately called the ‘core’.  That’s because there’s a whole lot of stabilizing going on using more than just your abs.  We’ve got the multifidus muscles, erector spinae, blah, blah, blah. They all comprise the core muscles.

But I’ve Digressed…Back To ‘Cutting Edge’ Exercising

Steve over at Nerd Fitness has the right idea…exercising doesn’t have to include too much complexity, or the creativity of an imaginative physical therapist.  He’s just doing what we used to call the long-forgotten… Squat Thrust Under A Tree.

What prompted my jealous ranting this fine morning?  Well, over at a woman named Selena Yeager details some fancy exercises to increase core strength.  While she’s getting notoriety for innovative conditioning, this little man sits tapping out cynicism at his computer keyboard.

She makes money, I get frustration…and a slowing of the proper evacuation of my bacon and cheese sandwich.  I’m starting to feel a ‘pinching’ in the muscles of my face!

But What’s Brought To The Table?

What’s called the ‘Mountain Climber’ could be called the ‘Mop The Kitchen Floor While Watching Monday Night Football So You’re Wife Won’t Be Mad At You’




What’s called the ‘Seated Boat with Isometric Side Push’ could be called the ‘Twisted Stationary Sit-up That Increases Your Personal Trainer’s Standard Of Living ‘




What’s called the ‘Plank with Alternating Knee Drops’ could be called the ‘I’m Sorry For Watching So Much Football, Honey…I’ll Never Do It Again’.



(all illustrations by Charlie Layton)

So What’s The Point Of This Posting?

Huh…there’s supposed to be a point?

How about this? Two points:

1). Just get out there and get fit.

2). Don’t sink into envy just because a clever Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist is driving a Mercedes SLK after inventing a better fitness mousetrap (and more importantly selling it to the public).

You do the first one…I’ve got the second one covered!

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