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Inverted Sit-ups Breaks Back, Paralyzes Woman
2018-02-21 00:00:00
​Vittorio Hernandez

[메디컬리포트=​Vittorio Hernandez 기자] All healthy living guidelines include physical exercise as one of the key elements of a strong and long life. However, in the quest for fitness, some people damage their bodies when they do exercises beyond their capability, or it can just be a pure accident.

The Sun reported the case of 23-year-old Marcelle Mancuso, an Instagram fitness model who fell on her head while doing an inverted sit-up at a gym in Sao Jose do Rio Preto in Brazil in January 2016. The gym bench, in an inverted sit-up, was raised at the end while she was doing an abdominal crunch.

After she slipped from a bench while Mancuso performed the abdominal exercise, she shattered the fifth vertebrae. The accident also squashed a third vertebra, knocked one out of place, and compressed the woman’s spinal cord.

She recalled that she was attached to the equipment with a strip that broke. The personal trainer could not hold her, and Mancuso hit the back of her head on the floor. She lost all body movements immediately with the blow.

Regaining movement

The accident paralyzed her from the neck down. She could be tetraplegic for life, warned doctors who fitted her spine with six screws and a titanium plate. There was no movement in her arms or legs. Her physicians were unsure if Mancuso would still walk again or would be confined to a bed for the rest of her life. But on the third day, she could wiggle her toes and fingers. After one week, she could stand up with help. Using a walking frame, Mancuso took her first step and kept on trying until she could walk short distances on her own three months after the injury.

Mancuso underwent months of physiotherapy to regain her movement. Even if it was hard, what motivated her was the thought that if her movements did not return, it would not be her fault but destiny. Her leg strength started to improve in the fourth month, and after one month, the fainting and dizziness while walking were gone.

On the sixth month, she was walking with her legs no longer swaying. Two years after the accident, she is back at the gym.

Must-do gym workouts

According to Daily Mail, inversion exercises or hanging upside-down is a current must-do workout in gyms. Those who do it claim that it boosts muscle power and circulation, cures back pain, and reduces the effects of aging.

It can also flatten the tummy for good and give you a six-pack abdomen because doing sit-ups from that position has about 10 times the impact on the muscles. Cornel Chin, a personal trainer, said that the exercise elongates and stretches the spine. Because sitting at desks or in cars all day scrunches us up, the exercise releases the tension.

However, before engaging in that kind of rigorous physical activity, Chin recommended taking professional instruction and medical advice. Lee Matthews, the UK head of Fitness First in Bristol, stressed that the exercise is not for beginners. A reasonable level of fitness is needed before attempting to do inverted sit-ups.

When a study compared the traditional workouts with the new methods, the researchers found that it did not only double improvements in balance, it also decreased joint pain by 30 percent.

Will McCullough, a personal trainer, added that it is an advanced core-muscle exercise.

Hanging sit-ups

Meanwhile, Livestrong said that hanging leg raises, or hanging sit-ups, is considered the pinnacle of abs training and fitness. The person exercising hangs from a bar with the feet dangling and performs crunches by drawing the knees and hips up to the chest. It can be part of a total core training routine, but the experts said not to rely on it as the only exercise for abs.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences, the hanging straight leg challenged the abs the most compared to other exercises, including the body saw and a walkout from a push-up.

In the first version of the hanging leg raises, the knee is pulled up to the chest. This exercise activates the hip flexors or iliopsoas. The abs function not as primary movers but as stabilizers.

The harder version of the exercise involves keeping the legs straight while bending the hips to bring the legs to touch the bar from where you are hanging. It primarily activates the rectus abdominis, the front band of the abdominal muscles.

But while the exercise may be effective, experts warned that it has some possible side effects such back pain, stress, and injury when the hip flexors are worked a lot and becomes tight and strong, while pulling on the muscles of the lower back.

Since every crunch-like abs exercises involve the hip flexors, it does not have to be left out in the workouts. It is an effective part of an abdominal routine if the back is healthy and the hanging leg raise does not cause pain.

[메디컬리포트=​Vittorio Hernandez 기자]

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