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Sit Ups: What They Do And Which Variants Are Most Effective

Do you want to build abs? Then sit ups are an effective exercise with which you can especially train the straight abdominal muscles. We show you how to do them correctly, what sit up exercises there are and what happens when you train daily.

What are sit ups?

The sit up is a popular exercise for your Abdominal muscle training without equipment. The term "sit up" comes from English, which translates as "sit up". This means the execution of the movement: If you do the exercise, you come from the supine position into an upright seat by moving your torso towards your thighs. In particular, the straight abdominal muscles are activated. They allow you to sit up from the lying position.

So if you want to train your stomach, you should definitely know sit ups. Advantage of the exercise: You don't need any equipment. It is therefore ideal for pure bodyweight training. For more intensity or variety You can of course include dumbbells, theraband, exercise ball or other tools in your workout at any time.

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What is the difference between crunches and sit ups?

If you are looking for effective abdominal exercises, you will come across crunches in addition to sit ups. Their explanations are similar: Both exercises start in the supine position with knees bent. But there are now small but subtle differences:

In contrast to sit ups, you raise with Crunches only the upper back including the Shoulder blades off the floor and compress the abdominal wall by becoming slightly round. Hence the name “crunches”, which means “belly press” in English.

At Sit ups again you lift the entire upper body off the floor and straighten up completely with your back as straight as possible. This variant is much more demanding and requires more abdominal and back tension. Therefore, beginners are often advised to do crunches exercises first.


What are the benefits of sit ups?

The sit up is one Isolation exercise, that means you are training a certain muscle group in isolation, in this case the straight abdominal muscles. Sit ups exercises activate your Midsection and set specific stimuli for muscle building here.

For everyone who works at one Six pack work, it makes sense to integrate sit ups into your training. Besides optical reasons strong abdominal muscles other benefits: Together with the back muscles, they stabilize and relieve the spine. You can improve your posture, counteract a hollow back and prevent back problems.

In addition, a trained middle ensures more balance and Body tension, from which you can benefit in all sports - regardless of whether weight training, running or yoga.

Important is: It's all in the mix. So you shouldn't focus entirely on sit ups, but also incorporate other abdominal and back exercises into your training.


Are Sit Ups Good For Your Back?

Sit Ups primarily train the straight abdominal muscles, but these are an important counterweight to the back muscles. Together, the abdominal and back muscles ensure a stable core.

This is why sit ups are for people a good ab exercise with a healthy back. If done correctly, it can counteract incorrect or excessive strain, for example from sitting for too long. If the abdominal muscles are too weak, this can lead to imbalances in the area of ​​the spine. In the worst case, joints, ligaments and intervertebral discs are damaged.

If you already have problems with your spine, it is best to consult a trainer before doing ab training. In order to slowly approach sit-ups and benefit from the positive effects of the exercise, you can start with crunches first or do a lighter sit-up alternative, for example with an exercise ball or a theraband as support.


Which muscles are trained in sit ups?

The focus in sit ups is on the straight abdominal muscles, but also the sloping and deep-lying muscles of your core are trained when done correctly. The hip flexor is also involved when straightening up.

Here are the primary target muscles of sit ups:

  • Rectus abdominis / straight abdominal muscle: The straight abdominal muscle is optically responsible for the six-pack and is an important postural muscle. It ensures that the chest is pulled towards the legs and the trunk is bent as a result.
  • Musculus pyramidalis / pyramidal muscle: The pyramidal muscle is a triangular skeletal muscle that belongs to the anterior or middle abdominal muscles. It strengthens the connection between the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.

These are the supporting, secondary muscles:

  • Musculus obliquus internus abdominis, Musculus obliquus externus abdominis / Inner and outer oblique abdominal muscle: The lateral abdominal muscles are responsible for the rotation in the upper body and contribute to a narrow waist and defined abdominal muscles.
  • Psoas major muscle / hip flexor muscle: In the hip joint, the muscle causes flexion and is also responsible for outward rotation (external rotation).

How Many Calories Do You Burn During Sit Ups?

The calorie consumption during sit ups depends on many factors age, gender and weight as well as the speed of execution and general body tension. So it is difficult to generalize.

To increase your calorie consumption during a workout and work on your six pack at the same time, you can do sit ups. The HIIT training method is particularly suitable - it is ideal for burning as much energy as possible in a short time.

The fact is, ever the more muscle you have, the higher your calorie consumption, even at rest.

Important at this point: Abdominal training is not primarily responsible for a visible six-pack. Because with this you strengthen your muscles, but you cannot lose weight specifically on your stomach. It is not without reason that “abs are made in the kitchen” - means that your diet is the driver for a defined body core.

So watch out for one in addition to training high protein diet and support your body with essential nutrients. A good addition for everyone who works on their fitness and figure is ours Whey protein.


How many sit ups should you do each day?

More is not necessarily better. As in many areas, the right dose is crucial for abdominal muscle training. In order for muscles to grow, they not only need regular training stimuli, but also recovery. Regeneration is the be-all and end-all.

So there is little point in exercising your abs every day. rather three to four times a week 4 x 20 sit ups as 100 pieces per day. In addition, you also train your stomach with many other full-body exercises such as squats, push-ups or lunges, as well as with endurance sports. So take a little break between your sit-up sessions.


What happens if you do sit ups every day?

If you do sit ups every day, you will feel that the abdominal wall becomes firmer and tighter over time. However, daily abdominal muscle training is not useful if you want to lose weight or if you are looking to build muscle.

Important levers for this are nutrition, a well-structured training plan and sufficient regeneration. If you train for 24 to 48 hours per muscle group without these recovery phases, your progress may slow down and your performance may decline. So exactly the opposite effect of what you're hoping for from your sit up training.

 


Execution: How do you do sit ups properly?

If you want to do sit ups properly, keep the following in mind Step-by-step instructions:

- Lie with your back on the floor, open your legs about hip-width apart and put the soles of your feet or heels on the floor. Your feet are so far away from your buttocks that you can just barely get to your ankles with your fingertips.

- There are different options for the posture of the arms: Beginners position them stretched out next to the upper body and lift them off the floor. Advanced athletes cross them in front of their chests or hold their fingertips to their temples.

- Now tense your stomach and straighten up in a controlled manner by lifting your upper body off the floor piece by piece and bending your hips. Deliberately pull your shoulder blades back and down to keep your upper back straight. A slight bend in the lower back is perfectly normal in order to exercise the hip flexor less.

- Exhaling, guide your upper body without swinging towards your thighs, and briefly hold the tension at the uppermost point.

- Inhaling, lower the upper body, vertebra by vertebra, to the floor, keeping the shoulder blades in the air. Repeat the movement.

Note: Keep your back straight the entire time, consciously pull your shoulder blades back and down. The chin tends towards the chest, the neck is an extension of the spine. If you have your hands on your temples, you should be careful not to tear your head. The strength comes completely from the core of the body.

 

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The most effective sit-ups

There are many different variations of sit ups. With the support of equipment such as the exercise ball or a Theraband, you can make the abdominal exercise a little easier and gentler. The sit-up becomes more intense, for example, with dumbbells or kettlebells. You can also add variety to your routine by varying the arm or leg posture and a twist in the upper body. We show you five variants:

 

Butterfly sit ups

Lie on your back and put the soles of your feet against each other. Let your knees fall outwards - like in a butterfly or butterfly seat. Stretch your arms above your head, use the strength of your abdominal muscles to straighten up and touch your feet with your hands. Alternatively, you can slap your palms on the floor in front of you. Return to the starting position in a controlled manner and repeat the movement. The faster you do the exercise, the greater the amount of cardio. The Butterfly Sit Up is not a popular strength endurance exercise for HIIT workouts for nothing.

Sit ups with the exercise ball

Instead of lying on the floor, lie on an exercise ball. Put your feet firmly on the ground. The ball starts at your tailbone and supports your entire back down to the lower ends of your shoulder blades. So your upper back is floating freely in the air. Cross your arms behind your head and slowly roll up your upper body. Don't tear your head, your hands are just a light support. Pull the navel towards the ribs and keep the tension in the core of the body even when lowering.

 

Sit ups with Theraband

This variant is ideal for beginners who want to slowly approach sit ups. Put a Theraband around your feet and hold both ends with your hands. Perform the sit ups as described in the instructions. The pulling force of the latex band makes it easier to get up. For more intensity, you can stretch your legs straight on the floor instead of bending them.

 

Sit ups with dumbbells

For advanced users, sit ups with extra weight are a good option. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (alternatively a heavier dumbbell or kettlebell in front of your chest). Stand up for a sit-up, tense your stomach tightly and stay straight in your back. Once at the top, you can punch the dumbbells in the air or bring them up over your head towards the ceiling. Both variations intensify the exercise.

 

Sit ups with a twist

Lie on the mat with your legs hip-width apart. Choose an arm position: cross them in front of your chest, stretch them out and cross your hands in front of your stomach to form a pistol or bring your fingertips to your temples. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor, tense your stomach tightly, and stand up. Rotate to one side in the upward movement, so turn your upper body up. Bring your elbow to the opposite knee or your outstretched arms along the sides of the opposite leg. Come back towards the ground and change direction. This sit-up variant specifically trains the lateral abdominal muscles.

 

Sit Up alternatives

Would you like to vary your ab training or sit ups are still too demanding for you?

The following exercises are effective alternatives to classic sit ups:

 

Common Sit Ups Mistakes

# 1 You curl your upper body in too much

If you do not have enough abdominal tension yet, it can happen that you curl up with your upper back and head forward before you straighten your upper body. When doing a sit-up, however, you should get into the seat as straight as possible, only with a slight bend in your lower back. If that doesn't work out so well, you'd better start with crunches.

# 2 You make a hollow back

You should definitely avoid a hollow back when lowering to protect your back. Deliberately push your pelvis forward and pull your belly button under your ribs. Maintain this tension as you move up and down.

# 3 You pull the back of your head

If you bring your hands to your head during sit ups, simply hold them there without using arm strength and pressing yourself up with your hands when straightening up. Pulling can cause neck discomfort. Alternatively, hold your arms next to your upper body.

# 4 You straighten up with a swing

You can do sit ups at a high pace, but you should be careful to keep moving in a controlled manner. The strength comes from your core, not your legs, arms or upper back. The slower you move, the more muscle tension you need to build.

# 5 You hold your breath while doing a sit up

Abdominal muscle exercises in particular can lead to the high tension in your upper body holding you out of breath. As soon as you catch yourself doing it, find your calm breathing again: breathe out when standing up, breathe in when lowering.

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