Sit-up is a strength training exercise usually performed with the aim of strengthening the core, the abdominal muscles, and hip flexors. It is quite similar to an abdominal crunch (crunches also target the same group of muscles i.e. rectus abdominous and the external and internal obliques) but allows a narrow range of motion as compared to sit-ups. Sit-ups have a great range of motion and thus condition and strengthen the abdominal muscles.

  • Bodyweight
  • Compound

The exercise begins with lying back on the ground, typically with the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on the spine and back muscles, and then elevating the back from the ground until everything superior to the buttocks is not touching the floor. The sit-up remains a go-to abdominal exercise and a staple in a grade school P.E and military PT tests. However, sit-ups are also sometimes criticized as being limited in potential benefits and a possible cause of neck and back injury. Your form goes a long way in making the sit-up safe and effective, so make sure you are doing them properly.

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Suggested Equipment

Benefits of a Sit-up

  • Sit-ups decrease the belly fat and will help you look better by ripping your abs and burning calories.
  • When they are done properly, sit-ups build a strong, resilient band of muscles around your spine that can help prevent back injury.
  • Sit-ups are a convenient option for an ab workout as they can be done without any equipment at home or anywhere.
  • If you are careful to pay attention to your form and put your body in correct alignment, sit-ups strengthen the core muscles effectively.
  • Sit-ups require more hip stabilizing muscles than the crunch and thus are helpful in maintaining balance and stabilization.

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus Abdominis
  • External Obliques
  • Internal Obligue
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Sartorius

How to Do a Sit-up

Fitness model performing a sit-up
Fitness model performing a sit-up
  1. Lie down on the ground placing your feet either under some stable thing or by having a partner hold them in a position. Your legs should be half bent at the knees to ease the back muscles and prevent excessive stretching.
  2. Take a deep breath, place your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers together to support the weight of the head. This is the starting position.
  3. Lift your upper body up and away from the ground so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Exhale as you come up.
  4. Once you feel the contraction and pressure on your abdominal muscles for a second, lower your shoulders and back down to the starting position while inhaling.
  5. Repeat the recommended amount of reps.