Sit-Ups (How To, Muscles Worked, Alternatives)


Sit-Ups

Sit-ups are one of the tried and true ‘classic’ core exercises. However, even though they may be an old classic, Sit-ups are still one of the most effective core strengthening exercises that you can do.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to properly do Sit-ups, explain what muscles they work and provide a few alternatives.


How To Do Sit-Ups


Equipment Needed

  • None

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands either behind your head for support, beside the ears or arms crossed in front of the chest.
  • Sit up by contracting and flexing the abdominals
  • Lower back down to the floor and repeat

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake that I see with Sit-ups is pulling way too hard on the back of head. If you are going to place your hands behind your head, do so only to support the head, not pull on it.

Instead of placing the hands behind the head you can also keep hands by the ears, or in front of the chest if needed, but avoid pulling on the back of the head.


Muscles Worked


Sit-ups work the entire abdominal region, but primarily emphasize the rectus abdominis.


Sit-Up Alternatives


If you’re unable to do Sit-ups, here are a few alternatives that you may be able to use as a substitution.

Crunches

The simplest alternative to Sit-ups is to switch them out for Crunches. If you’re struggling with Sit-ups, Crunches is the first thing I would suggest as a replacement until you’re ready to progress back to Sit-ups.

Start laying on your back as well, knees bent at 90 and feet off the floor. Instead of sitting all the way up, simply crunch up and squeeze the abs.

Suitcase Crunches

Another alternative for Sit-ups are Suitcase Crunches. These are a little more difficult than regular Crunches, so they can be used as a progression towards doing full Sit-ups.

Instead of laying on your back, balance up on your butt and bring your knees and chest together at the top and then extend out – keeping back and feet off the ground throughout the entire set.


More Links and Info


For more ab exercises with step-by-step instructions, check out the Core Section of the Exercise Library

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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