Sit-up is a popular strength training workout meant for abdominal muscles. Let’s look at how to do a proper sit-up before I tell you why sit-up may not be suitable for you.
- Lying with your back on the floor. Bent your knees to reduce the stress on your back. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
- You can cross your arms at your chest or put your hands behind your head or even just beside you.
- Then, use your abs muscle to raise your upper body off from the floor until your lower back is no longer touching the ground. You are actually sitting up vertically now.
- Smoothly lower your body back to the floor and repeat.
- Do not interlace your fingers and then put them right behind your neck because you may pull your neck up unintentionally. This pulling action may strain your neck.
- During school time, my teachers asked us to hold each others’ feet to do sit-up and some people are still practicing it nowadays. Locking the feet will work more on the hips rather than the abs. Also, your momentum may be the one which brings you up. Furthermore, your lower back may be hurt because you may have the tendency to arch your back which may cause strain. Not only it is less effective for your abs, it can injur your lower back. So, do not put your feet under your couch or asking someone to hold your feet next time if you do sit up.
- Some people believe that by twisting at the top of the sit-up movement (from left elbow to right knee and vice versa) will challenge more on the abs, but it actually also causes rotational stress on the lower back.
- If you feel pain at your lower back, stop doing sit-up immediately.
Why Sit Up Is No Longer Recommended As The Number One Abs Workout?
- To be effective, sit-ups must pull the upper body upward from a lying position using only the abs muscle. However, other more powerful muscles such as legs and hips do most of the work. Abdominal muscles are worked on during the first 30 degree of lift in a situp. After that (the remaining 60 degree left), the hip muscles take over, making sit-up ineffective for abs. Though by bending the knees (instead of with straightened legs), abs muscles will work more, but still much less than the hip flexor.
- Apart from that, sports scientists found out that sit up has caused much strain on the lower back.
If not sit up, what workout should you do for your abdominal muscle?
Crunches are highly recommended. Many people have confused the term of sit up with crunch. Unlike sit up, when you do abdominal crunch, your lower back do not leave the floor. In sit up, you sit all the way up and your back is off the floor. Plank is good for abs too. I shall write more about crunches and planks in my future post.
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