The Right Coast

June 10, 2004
Stupid exercise tips
By Tom Smith

No, I'm not kidding. These exercises can hurt you, and if they do, it's your own fault.

Spetznaz pushups -- On some non-slip surface, put your arms out in front of your shoulders about 1.5 to 2 feet. Put your feet back as you would for a normal push-up. Lower slowly, push up slowly. You will want to arch your back, but don't. You can hurt your back if you arch it doing this. The whole idea is to keep your abs hard and stabilize yourself through the motion. It's hard to do. Don't do it if your lower back has been bothering you. 3 to 5 is a set.

Janda situps -- Correct crunches are hard to do because most people's abs, including mine, are much weaker than they should be. When you do crunches, it's hard not to use your hip abductors to do much of the work, which ends up not doing your abs much good, and increasing the imbalance between your abs and abductors. This increases the excessive arch in your lower back and makes you walk around with your butt sticking out. This is fine if you are a cute female gymnast, but if you are a middle aged guy it looks really lame. It's also bad for your back. Fixing this is hard, but an exercise that sort of works is the Janda situp. One way to do it that works rather well is this: find a soft object like a ottoman or maybe a low stool with a pillow on it. Elevate your ankles on it. Now do a crunch, slowly, pushing down with your ankles, compressing the pillow or cushion. Yes, it makes it harder to get up. All you really need to do is curl your shoulders 2 or 3 inches off the floor. Lower back should be pushed against the floor hard! No arching! Do this until you throw up. No, just kidding. Do as many as you can with perfect form. When you can't hold your back hard against the floor anymore, stop. Now drink beer until you pass out.

You can do these while watching a baby.