Why Do You Exercise Lying Down?

December 13, 2012 by Sal Marinello  
Filed under The Healthy Skeptic

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Lying down when exercising is a bad idea, so why do so many people do it? We don't operate lying down; we sleep. Working a muscle, or muscles, when prone or supine or on all fours does nothing to prepare them for the reality faced 99% of our waking moments, when we are upright.

 

Our bodies need vertical stability, not horizontal stability. Gravity is the main factor to consider when performing an exercise, and when we are in a lying down position gravity has a completely different effect on us then when we are standing. As a hypothetical, take a bookcase that is meant to hold books in a horizontal position, and then tip it on its edge and watch all the books fall out. The books don't stay in the case because its being used in a manner not consistent with how it was built.

 

So if you get better at doing a plank or crunches (yuk!) or a TRX exercise, you are only better at that specific exercise while in the horizontal position. There is little, if any, transfer of strength to movements performed while horizontal.

 

The goal is horizontal stability, not vertical. So if you spend a lot of time exercising while lying down – bench press, crunches, planks, “hydrants” (yuk, again) – you are wasting your time.

Related Posts:

  1. What is Vertical Stability and Why is it Necessary?
  2. Four Reasons Not to Make Core Training the Focus of Your Workouts
  3. Mark McGwire is Lying to Himself About His Steroid Use
  4. The Ramble: More Things You Should Stop Doing in the Gym, Immediately
  5. Your Personal Trainer Might Not Know What They’re Doing If: Crunches Edition

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