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8 Correct Ways To Do Sit-Ups To Get A Flat Tummy And Prevent Injuries

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
8 Correct Ways To Do Sit-Ups To Get A Flat Tummy And Prevent Injuries September 14, 2018

Are you tired of holding your breath and pulling your tummy in everytime you try a dress on? Or every time a cute guy passes by (wink)? Then, you’ve got to do sit-ups! Because a flat tummy is always in trend. It also speaks volumes about your health and protects you from various obesity-related diseases. But if you don’t do it correctly, you may injure your spine and neck. So, give this post a read to know how to do sit-ups correctly, and 8 variations to get a toned tummy. Swipe up!

Which Muscles Do Sit-ups Work On?

Sit-ups work the rectus abdominis, obliques, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae, chest, and neck muscles. These are the muscles that hold your spine and body straight, preventing collapsing or twisting of the spine, and helping in neck and hip movement. Sit-ups are different from crunches in the way they are performed and the muscles they activate. Crunches only work on the ab muscles. But sit-ups work on almost your entire body and are hence quite effective. And knowing the correct technique is the key. So, here’s how to do sit-ups correctly.

How To Do Basic Sit-ups

First and foremost, let me make it easier for you by laying down the three basic guidelines to do sit-ups correctly.

3 Basic Guidelines To Do Sit-ups Correctly

  1. Never anchor your legs.
  2. Always maintain a posterior tilt or ensure your lower back is completely on the ground.
  3. Do not strain your neck by tucking it in.

Now, you are ready to do your first sit-up – slowly and correctly.

Basic Sit-up Steps

  1. Sit on a mat. Keep your legs hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, hands placed on the sides of your thighs, and spine straight.
  2. Roll back down on the mat until your upper back touches the mat, and your knees are pointing toward the ceiling.
  3. When you lie down, your lower back is curved, which known as anterior tilt. And this is dangerous for your spine while doing sit-ups. Change the anterior tilt to posterior tilt by pushing your pelvic region up so that your lower back is touching the mat completely.
  4. Engage your core. Keep your neck in line with the spine, look diagonally up at the ceiling, and inhale.
  5. Exhale and use your core muscles to sit up. As you do so, your hands will slide up from your thighs to your knees. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  6. Inhale and slowly roll back down to the starting position. Make sure your lower back is completely flat on the mat.
  7. Again, exhale and sit up.

Tip: Do it slowly so that you engage your ab muscles and not the hip flexors to push your body up. Always maintain a posterior tilt. Constantly changing from an anterior tilt to a posterior tilt will put a lot of stress on your spine and eventually lead to lower back pain or a slipped disc.

Want to up your sit-up exercise game? Then, check out these 8 effective sit-up variations that will build a strong core and help you say goodbye to tummy flab permanently. Let’s begin!

8 Effective Sit-ups For Strong Abs And A Flat Tummy

1. Hands To Heels

How To Do Hands To Heels
  1. Lie down on a mat. Keep your knees flexed, feet flat on the floor, and legs hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your hands above your head and keep them shoulder-width apart. Make sure your lower back is in a posterior tilt.
  3. Exhale and push your upper body up. Simultaneously, swing your hands from above your head to the side of your heels.
  4. Inhale and roll back down to the starting position.
  5. Do not tuck your chin. Keep your gaze diagonally up at the ceiling.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

2. Straight Leg Sit-ups

How To Do Straight Leg Sit-ups
  1. Lie down on the floor. Keep your legs hip-width apart, and hands above your head, and look up at the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  2. Exhale and pull your upper body up into a sitting position. Keep your hands extended above your head.
  3. Inhale and roll back down on the mat.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

3. Butterfly Sit-ups

How To Do Butterfly Sit-ups
  1. Sit on a mat. Keep your knees flexed, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Open your thighs and place the sole of your right foot against the sole of the left foot.
  3. Roll back down slowly on the mat. Extend your hands above your head, and look up at the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  4. Exhale and pull your upper body up into a sitting position. Simultaneously, swing your hands from above your head to just beyond your toes.
  5. Inhale and slowly roll back down to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

[ Read: Top 22 Medicine Ball Exercises And Their Benefits ]

4. Bent Leg Sit-ups

How To Do Bent Leg Sit-ups
  1. Lie down on the floor. Flex your knees, place your feet flat on the floor, and your hands above your head, and look up at the ceiling. This is the starting position.
  2. Exhale and pull your upper body up in a sitting position. Your hands should remain above your head.
  3. Inhale and roll back down to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

5. V-Ups

How To Do V-Ups
  1. Lie down on a mat. Keep your legs together, hands extended above your head, and your spine in a posterior tilt.
  2. Lift both your legs and the upper body simultaneously. Try to touch your toes. Keep your gaze diagonally up at the ceiling.
  3. Inhale and roll back down to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

6. Oblique V-Ups

How To Do Oblique V-Ups
  1. Lie down on your right side. Keep your right hand extended in front of you for support, your left hand extended up toward the ceiling, legs together, knees slightly bent, and core engaged.
  2. Lift both your legs and your upper body, and touch your left leg with your left hand.
  3. Exhale and roll back down to the starting position.
  4. Do this 10 times before switching sides.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps on each side

7. Weighted Sit-ups

How To Do Weighted Sit-ups
  1. You can do this using a dumbbell or a plate.
  2. Sit down on a mat. Keep your legs hip-width apart, feet flat on the floor, spine straight, and shoulders relaxed.
  3. Hold the weight with both the hands and lift it just above your head. Make sure your elbows are slightly bent.
  4. Roll back slowly. Make sure your spine is flat on the floor, and your hands are right above your head. This is the starting position.
  5. Exhale and sit up. Do not lift your legs off the floor. Keep your back straight. Do not tuck your chin. Look diagonally up at the ceiling.
  6. Inhale and go back to the starting position.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

8. V-Sit Russian Twist

How To Do V-Sit Russian Twist
  1. Lie down on your back. Your legs should be shoulder-width apart, shoulders relaxed, and palms together. Make sure your lower back is in a posterior tilt. This is the starting position.
  2. Exhale and lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees. Simultaneously, do a sit-up.
  3. Twist to your right and then to your left.
  4. Do this two times and then roll back down to the starting position. Inhale as you do so.
  5. Exhale, lift your legs, sit up, and twist to your right and then left. Do this 4 times.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

There you have it – 8 different variations of sit-ups. Now, take a look at the tips to keep in mind while doing sit-ups.

Tips While Doing Sit-ups Exercises

  • Beginners should start with 3 sets of 10 reps and progress accordingly. To intensify your routine, increase the number of repetitions you do.
  • The key to building core strength is the breathing technique. Take deep breaths and keep the pace slow, really concentrating on contracting the muscles and holding the position.
  • Start with your feet 12-18 inches from your butt and continue doing curl-ups. But the moment you feel like you can’t do it anymore, increase the distance between your butt and feet. This new angle between your abdominal muscles and legs will take you through a few more reps.
  • Lower back pain is the main complaint of people practicing sit-ups. If the speed of the movement is too fast, it’ll result in severe lower back pain. To avoid the pain, you can do a less intense variation of the sit-up with the exercise ball to lessen the strain on the lower back. Also, keep your lower back firmly in contact with the floor throughout the movement to avoid excessive strain.
  • You can also add weights to intensify your sit-up and challenge yourself. Just grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them in your hands. Weights are best added in the Jackknife version of sit-ups.
    Following these tips will ensure you do the exercise in the correct form and help you avoid injuries. Apart from getting a flat tummy, there are many other benefits of doing sit-ups. Scroll down to find out.

Sit-ups Benefits

  • Improve core strength.
  • Improve hip flexor strength.
  • Increase flexibility.
  • Help lose tummy fat.
  • Tone the ab area.
  • Improve posture.

Sit-ups, when done correctly, can be rewarding. Follow the correct method, and you will not be at the risk of injuring your back or neck. Go ahead and turn some heads as you transform your body. Good luck!

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