Simple exercises don’t tend to be very controversial. It’s rare to hear fitness professionals recommending no walking or learning how to do pull-ups. But there is one training move that many coaches suggest avoiding, and surprisingly, it’s one of the go-tos in the world of calisthenics.

Is there really anything wrong with sit-ups? Are they a valuable addition to your training regimen or should you avoid them altogether? We wanted to know if the criticisms of this exercise were justified and to make sure that everyone who does them performs them in the safest and most effective way possible.

Sit-ups do not require any equipment. This is a bodyweight movement, which means you use your own strength and resistance to perform it. Probably the most well-known abdominal exercise, sit-ups are described as “an abdominal exercise designed to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen.”

Benefits of sit-ups:

They work several muscles :

Sit-ups use the “rectus abdominis muscle (the vertical muscle located in the center of the trunk or where you see a ‘six pack’). Other muscles involved are the obliques, transverse abdominis, hip flexors, and even some back muscles.

They improve core strength :

It turns out that sit-ups are useful for workout routines as well as everyday life. The greater range of motion in sit-ups activates many muscles in the body, helping you improve your overall posture and core strength. By developing core strength, you will be able to move more easily and reduce the risk of back pain and injury. Core muscles are also linked to an overall improvement in muscle strength throughout the body, as a strong core allows for proper posture, stability, and form when performing various exercises.

They can help define your abdominal muscles :

It’s different from having a strong core, because you don’t have to have a six-pack to have a strong core.

Security Considerations.

As you might have guessed, despite their benefits, sit-ups get a bad rap, and there’s a reason for that. This exercise requires caution. The main problem we have with sit-ups is bending of the spine. And it’s possible to injure your back if you don’t do the sit-up correctly. It has been suggested that too much rolling action used in sit-ups can potentially damage spinal discs. That said, if you practice proper form, injuries can be avoided. If done correctly, sit-ups can greatly improve core strength.

Some people should avoid doing sit-ups.

Those who are developing their core strength or who have had spinal issues in the past can opt for other core-focused exercises. Also, if you have trouble with hip flexors, sit-ups may not be a good choice for you. Since sit-ups naturally work the hip flexors, if they are overstretched they strain the lower spine and can create lower back discomfort. People who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis should avoid doing sit-ups, as it increases the pressure on the bones.

Correct form.

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent. Place your feet hip-width apart and parallel to the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head, keeping your elbows open, or crossing them at chest level. Placing them behind your head “will keep you from pulling your neck up when you start the movement.”
  • Tuck your chin in and lift your head, shoulders, and back up toward your thighs.
  • Slowly reverse the movement and lower back to the floor.
  • Work in numbered or timed sets, aiming for 1-3 minutes of sit-up reps.

How to modify them?

There are many ways to modify sit-ups, and the different modifications can make it easier for you in different ways. Here are the main suggestions, all of which are preferable to performing incorrectly or without the necessary force.

  • Place your feet under a bench: If you find it difficult to keep your feet on the ground during a sit-up.
  • Change your hand placement: Rather than starting with your hands behind your head and your elbows out, reach your arms forward, toward your knees, or take a light grip behind your thighs. This should allow you to roll to a seated position more easily.
  • Reduce your range of motion: Shortening the length of your sit-up can also be a modification: you can do sit-ups with your back on a Bosu or stability ball, with your feet on the floor.
  • Flex your feet: Anchor your flexed feet to a wall or baseboard, or place the soles of your feet around a dumbbell. This can activate your lower abdominal muscles to create a stronger connection to the floor so you can roll up your upper body with greater ease.
* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.