The Most Common Injury in CrossFit and How to Prevent It

It’s painful and likely the first battle scar you’ll get when starting CrossFit.

…The infamous Ass Berry. Rug Burn. Monkey Butt. Whatever your weird name of choice, I’m talking about that abrasion that happens at the top of your butt every time you do abmat sit-ups. It’s happened to all of us at least once; and that feeling when the shower hits it the following morning is something forever scorched into all of our memories. I’m here to tell you why it happens and how to prevent it, without sacrificing intensity or speed in your workouts.

Why Do I Get This Sore Above My Butt After Abmat Sit-Ups?

It all has to do with core stability through the range of motion of the abmat sit-up. Simply put, the sore happens because the small of your back is continually rubbing on the gym floor too much with each sit-up you do. It’s like a bad rug burn, basically.

If you’re unable to resist the extension of your abs during the sit-up, that small amount of rubbing is going to quickly turn into A LOT of rubbing, especially as you fatigue and try to get more aggressive with your hips.

How Do I Prevent These Butt Sores from Abmat Sit-Ups?

This could be simply a technique issue or it could be a core stability issue. We’ll go over both below.

  • Technique Fix: Trying to beat the guy or girl next to you? Trying to PR your Annie time? You’re going to be flinging your arms forward, and maybe even “kipping” your sit-ups a little with your hips. When you’re going really fast, or you’re fatiguing, odds are your hips are going to be lifting up at the bottom position, then slamming down on the rubber floor to help create momentum to complete the sit-up. This is a great way to go fast with less effort, but you’re also creating tons of rubbing and friction on the small of your back, leading to the stingy, burning sore on your butt.
    • Keep your hips and low back locked to the floor, or just be willing to pay the price in the shower the next few days.
  • Core Stability Fix: Same action, different reason. If you’re moving slowly through sit-ups, and you’re not kipping your hips to get that momentum, but you’re still getting the monkey butt sore, it’s like due to your inability to resist core extension (arching of your low back when laying down on your back). Every time you go down in your sit-up, you low back arches and puts extra force on the small of your back where the rubber meets your butt. Then when you go to sit-up, that arching extraneously drags your skin across the rubber floor.
    • Quick Fix: Do sit-ups on the turf or on a yoga mat. These are simply surfaces that won’t rub as much on your skin.
    • Long-Term Fix: Dead bugs! Since the ultimate problem is that you’re unable to resist core extension (arching of your low back), dead bugs become a crucial element to practice to ultimately prevent this painful butt sore. If you do just 1 minute a day of dead dugs every day, you’ll notice dramatic improvement in your overall core stability and hip mobility, as well as a reduction in low back pain. This will translate directly to almost every movement we do not just in the gym (especially Olympic Lifting), but in life!

Below is a creepy sounding guy with awkward music on how to do a deadbug.

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