The classic sit up position is flat on the back, hands behind the head and you sit up without aid of any other muscle groups and touch your knees with your elbows and then go down. Do that about 500 times and you will have yourself great abs. Right?
Probably not. Any skilled weight training instructor will steer you away form sit ups and particularly the kind we just discussed. There are some very good reasons why you can and should design a program of abdominal health without ever doing a single sit up.
Sit ups are not the optimum abdominal muscle work out. For one thing, there is a tendency by the exerciser (you) to jerk forward as though to pull oneself into the sitting position using the hands behind the head. When this happens, your ab muscles are not getting any work out at all. You are using your arm muscles to get the momentum going forward.
Secondly, the sit up draws on the back muscles, the legs, the buttocks and even the neck as much as they do on the abdominal muscle groups. And because this is not a good exercise for any of those groups, you can do damage to a muscle by doing sit ups badly. And that potential of hurting your body and stopping your progress is too much of a possibility to allow sit ups to be a major part of your program.
But you can develop an alternate abdominal work out program that you can do at home with no equipment. And being able to do the exercise anywhere without equipment is what always made the sit up popular in the first place. Instead of sit ups, substitute the following exercises.
- Crunches instead of sit ups.
- Leg lifts from a lying position which utilizes the lower ab portion of your belly.
- Leg lifts from standing.
- Touch your toes and back up again which puts gentle pressure on the abs.