Abdominal Sit Ups - Abs Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: The abdominal sit up is a movement commonly
performed to strengthen the abdominal muscles. This exercise has
a fuller range of motion than the abdominal crunch which allows
you to work all of the muscles in the midsection. The other additional
muscles conditioned during this exercise include the rectus abdominus,
hip flexors, iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius and the tensor
fasciae lae. These are mostly muscles in midsection of your body.
The abdominal sit ups have greater advantage over the standard crunches
as the standard crunch only targets part of the abdominal muscles.
Exercise Instructions: Place a mat on
the floor and lie on your back with your feet flat on the
floor and your knees bent. Place your hands on either side
of your head and execute the exercise by raising your torso
up and crunching your abs forward while trying to touch your
elbows to your knees. Really focus on keeping your midsection
contracted throughout the entire exercise. Slowly lower your
body back to the start position and repeat.
Why This Exercise is Important: Abdominal sit ups are important
because they help strengthen your abs and build up the core muscles
of your trunk and pelvis which help to improve your posture, stability
and overall balance.
Things To Avoid: To do abdominal sit ups correctly and achieve
good results, you should avoid common faults that jeopardize the
safety of the exercise. First, avoid using your hands for support
during the sit up. Make sure your abs do all the work. The hands
are only supposed to support the weight of the head and not to pull
you up. Moreover, to avoid straining your neck, always keep your
chin up off your chest to retain the neck in a relaxed, neutral
position. Further, you should keep your head aligned with your torso
to avoid endangering the cervical region of the spine. To avoid
stomach cramps during sit ups, ensure you warm up before you start
performing the exercise. Also, perform other exercises to stretch
your stomach muscles before starting this exercise. Ensure the movements
are smooth, slow and controlled, while feeling the contractions
of your abdominal muscles the whole time. Avoid working too fast
as this increases the risk of injury to your lower back. It is recommendable
to work through stages and your abs will grow stronger with time.
Lastly, remain hydrated at all times.
Reps and Sets: Beginners should aim for 2-3 sets of about
10-15 reps, intermediates should aim for 3-4 sets of 1520
reps and advanced athletes should aim for 4-5 sets of 20-30 reps.
It is crucial to rest between the sets. The proper rest period should
be between 30-60 seconds. As you get stronger with the abdominal
sit ups, there are several tricks that you can include to intensify
this exercise. These include the hand position drop set, working
the sides and trying to hold the contraction at the top while breathing
in and out a few times. However, you should avoid some common errors
that most people make in order to get the most out of abdominal
sit ups. As indicated earlier, use of momentum is a common error.
Always use your abdominal muscles to lift yourself up and start
with the easiest position first. Moreover, avoid coming up too far
and resting at the top since this will make you lose tension.
Other Exercises To Use: You can use other exercises to tighten
you abdominal muscles. The lower abdominal raises, reverse sit-ups
and incline abdominal sit-ups are incredible variations of standard
abdominal sit ups. Other exercises include abdominal crunches, cable
crunches, bicycle crunches and lying leg raises. Each of these exercises
are great for working the muscles of the midsection and core. View
our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of all the exercises
that target the abs.