How To Do Sit Ups


Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise 
Published on 09-03-2009

Anybody who’s anybody knows how to do sit ups, right? Although sit ups are a very commonly performed exercise, there are still a number of people out there who have no idea how to perform them. This number probably runs pretty low because most grade school fitness programs have been making use of the sit up for years. That being said, there is a major difference in those who have no idea how to do sit ups and those who have no idea how to do sit ups correctly. Which group do you fall into?

Before we start talking about the correct sit up technique, we’re going to run through some of the basic theory behind sit ups. As most are already aware, the sit up is an abdominal exercise. In fact, it’s a pretty darn good abdominal exercise with a wide array of simple and effective variations. It’s hard to say when the sit up first came into existence – it’s unlikely that anyone is able to say for sure. However, it erupted in both grade school and military programs during the 20th century. The sit up quickly became the biggest test of abdominal endurance and strength amongst institutions all over the world. Variations began popping up as fitness professionals discovered new uses for it and now the basic sit up and its spin-offs fill pages and pages of textbooks today.

Hopefully that wasn’t too dry of a history lesson – there wasn’t really that much history there at all. Moving on, we’re going to look how to do sit ups the correct way and then one essential sit up variation.

  • The basic sit up. To begin this exercise, start off by lying on the floor with a flat back. Don’t take flat back literally, however, because there will always be somewhat of a curve in the lumber spine. This isn’t a bad thing, so don’t worry about it. Keeping both your back and feet flat on the floor, bend your knees to a 90 degree angle. This is the starting position you will use. As far as hand placement, there are a few options – behind your head, by your side, or across your chest. Choose whichever placement is most comfortable to you. Hands set and feet still flat on the floor, contract your abdominals to raise your upper body from the floor to your knees. The chest should be within inches of the knees. Hold this position for a split second and then return to the floor. Congrats – you now know how to do sit ups.
  • Stability ball sit ups. This is a common sit up variation that studies have shown to be slightly more beneficial than basic sit ups. Instead of starting on the floor, you will begin by sitting on a stability ball. Your butt should be in contact with the ball and your knees will still remain bent at 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor. From the sitting position, lean backwards until you are nearly parallel to the floor. Your lower back should be somewhat supported by the ball. This will be the starting position for this exercise. From here, the exact rules of the basic sit up apply. Contract your abdominals to raise your body up towards the knees, hold for a brief second, and return to the starting position.

The lower back and abdominals are two dangerous areas to mess around with. Those who have no idea how to do sit ups should learn immediately to help avoid injury.


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