Weighted Sit-Ups

Weighted Sit-Ups (How To and Alternatives)

Sit-ups are one of the tried and true ‘classic’ core exercises. Weighted Sit-Ups is a popular variation that increases the challenge by adding a weighted implement to the exercise. This usually comes in the form of either a weight plate or dumbbell.

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

How To Do Sit-Ups

Equipment Needed

  • Weight Plate, Dumbbell or Kettlebell

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a plate or dumbbell, lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold the weight tight against the chest if possible.
  • Sit up by contracting and flexing the abdominals
  • Lower back down to the floor and repeat

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with Weighted Sit-Ups is holding the weight too low, down towards the stomach. Holding the weight too low takes away much (if not all) of the added resistance that the weight is supposed to be providing.

Muscles Worked

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

Weighted 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. Both of these exercises can also be done with or without an added weight for extra resistance.


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

Featured Image Credit: (javi_indy / shutterstock.com)

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