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Free PDF of Spinal Flexion Review Paper

By August 29, 2011August 30th, 2014Ab Training

Spinal Flexion Review Paper in the SCJ

The NSCA was nice enough to allow readers to download the pdf of Brad and my spinal flexion review paper for free. This is a very volatile topic as evidenced by the fact that the article is already the most read article in the Strength and Conditioning Journal’s history and it’s only been out for one month.

I’ve heard that Brad and I have been accused on two different strength training forums of cherry-picking from the literature (ignoring good evidence that doesn’t suit our hypothesis and solely focusing on evidence that does suit our hypothesis). This is a very serious accusation and I wish that fitness professionals had some evidence of this before making those accusations.

Brad and I sought out to impartially review the literature and we touched on every single paper we found that dealt with pure spinal flexion and tried our best to remain unbiased. If anyone knows of papers that we did not include then please forward them to us and we’ll announce them, but we’re pretty sure that we were comprehensive and no other applicable studies exist. The literature is quite sparse in this area and most is innapplicable, which is why Brad and I are urging researchers to conduct studies in this area.

I find this quite frustrating when I’m accused by folks who don’t read research and don’t have an adequate grip on the subject. If you’re a fitness professional, make sure you have substantial proof before making serious accusations that can harm another’s reputation.

Make sure you click on the link and download the pdf ASAP as it’s only free for another two weeks. CLICK HERE to access the full paper and click on “pdf.”

Spinal Flexion Article on TNation

If you haven’t read the accompanying TNation article, please do so. The two articles compliment each other very well as the journal article delves a bit more into the science while the TNation article branches out into different avenues and introduces anecdotes for evidence. CLICK HERE to read this article.

Good Old Fashioned Debate

If you’ve already read both of these papers, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading a discussion on the JP Fitness Forums regarding spinal flexion. I enjoyed this debate as it was civil. CLICK HERE to read the discussion.

Form Your Own Conclusion Based on All of the Existing Evidence

I recommend that you consider all of the types of evidence and form your own conclusion. Personally it won’t bother me which choice you make, as long as you’re making an educated decision based on logic.

Crunches and Midsection Fat-Burning

Though crunches will indeed produce rectus abdominis hypertrophy (especially if you progress them via a Swiss ball and/or dumbbell), if you’re still performing crunches in attempts to lose fat off the midsection, know that spot reduction is a myth and won’t help you in your endeavors. A brand new study examined this. CLICK HERE to read the abstract.

I hope you enjoy the reading! -BC


  • Jensen Brent says:

    No good deed goes unpunished. Please keep up the good work. You have supporters all over.

    Your biomech supporters in Cincy,

  • Michael Gray says:

    I’m glad you responded to criticism they way you did. You showed humility and that says a lot! While I’m still in the camp of “a lot of people are better off not doing spinal flexion” at least at first, I totally see your (and the researches) perspective and can see how there is definitely a place for it. Thanks for continuing to push the envelope. Keep up the good work my man!


    • Bret says:

      Thank you very much Michael. I appreciate your comment. Brad and I don’t want folks to simply agree with us…we wanted to educate folks so they can form their own conclusions and also urge researchers to examine this topic (eustress/distress) to see if a healthy window exists. I will definitely keep workin’ hard…you do the same! -BC

  • Halvor says:

    Great work Bret! Your contributions to the industry are awesome. There are to many fitness professionals that only want to sell mediocre products and make a lot of money. Providing high quality information for free shows that you have a genuine interest in evolving the fitness industry. It is much appreciated!!

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