Sit Ups: A Popular Ab Exercise

Sit ups are probably one of the most popular ab exercises, although they have fallen out of favor in some circles.

On this page we'll talk about the proper form for the sit up and also compare them to crunches.

Ab Exercises are a serious topic, but before we get to the technical stuff...

Let's have some fun.

Laughing is a good for the abs!

Here is a funny video of a Monkey doing situps with a Bull Dog. It's in Japanese but you don't have to speak Japanese to laugh your head off!

Make sure you find a workout partner that's just as motivated as you!

Sit Ups are one of the most popular ab exercises.

If you've participated in the Presidential Fitness Challenge then you remember running and doing push ups and situps. These 3 exercises can give you a basic idea of your overall fitness.

Situps are similar to crunches. The difference is that your lower back lifts off the floor when you do situps, and it stays on the floor when you do ab crunches.

Here's what abdominal crunches look like.


You can click here to read more about ab crunches.

Here's what situps look like.

sit upssit ups

You can even do this exercise to focus on the obliques.

Are Situps Bad for Your Lower Back?

Situps have fallen out of favor among personal trainers and appear much less often in fitness programs than they did 15-20 years ago.

The reason is...
situps put more pressure on the lower back than crunches.

The big difference is in the hips!

The muscles that bend the hips (often referred to as the hip flexors) attach to the lower back and the pelvis. When your hips move they pull on the lower back and add pressure to the joints of the lower back.

The added pressure is actually a normal biomechanical change.

The problem is that if your lower back joints already have some damage from a previous injury, extra pressure can irritate the joints.

Also, if you have bad alignment and bad posture you will have excessive pressure on your joints.

And, if you have bad flexibility in your hips and spine, you will have extra pressure on your joints.

And, if you have weak abdominals or weak lower back muscles, you will have extra pressure on your back when you do full situps.

So I must say that situps aren't really bad for your back.

What's bad for your back is injury, arthritis, poor flexibility, poor posture, poor alignment, poor abdominal strength, poor lower back strength, and poor technique.

I just want to emphasize that the exercise by itself is not bad.

If you have no injuries, good posture, good flexibility, good strength, and good technique, the sit up is one of the best abdominal exercises to strengthen and develop your abdominal muscles.

For athletes, I often recommend including sit up exercises.

However, for my clients with bad posture, poor flexibility and a history of back pain I recommend that they avoid full situps and focus on crunches, flexibility, and core stabilization.

Note: Any ab exercise that requires the legs and hips to move will place a little more stress on the lower back because the hip flexor muscles attach to the lower back. For example, leg raises also place more stress on the lower back.

Situps and ab crunches both have their place in fitness. To better understand each exercise read my article on The Evolution of Stomach Exercises

Or read my article on finding The Best Abdominal Exercise for You!

Not Even a Walrus can Spot Reduce

How many times will I have to tell you, sit ups don't magically get rid of your stomach fat!

Unfortunately, ab exercises alone do not give you a six pack or a flat stomach, and this is the #1 ab myth.

Check out this article I wrote about the calories burned during situps.

World Record for Situps

Do not attempt this at home. Actually, I don't think I need to discourage you.

I have to admit I got a little motivated, but I only did 100... not 33,313. It's all good.

You can do thousands of situps and not get a six pack. In order to get a six pack you need a comprehensive approach. Read my page on how to get a six pack or flat stomach.

Directory of Abdominal Exercises

I hope this page helps to give you a better understanding of situps. But there are so many other exercises that you can do to workout your core, abdominals, and lower back.

Visit the Directory of Abdominal Exercises to learn the other exercises on this site.

See you back here soon!
Yours in Health
Dr. Charles

Return to the Home Page from Sit Ups

P.S. Check out my Core Workout Video!

The video can be purchased as DVD's and shipped to your home.

Get the DVD for $7.95 + sph

Click Here to Order Your DVD Today!

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