One of the most famous calisthenic exercises is the sit up – a core strengthening exercise mainly used to target the abdominal muscles and usually done for aesthetic reasons such as achieving the glorious 6-pack abs. Sit ups also benefit the hip flexors and back muscles when performed properly.
One of the greatest advantages to any calisthenic exercise are the synergistic benefits.
Sit-ups help strengthen and stabilize the midsection which is beneficial for everyone and quite necessary for every athlete. A stronger midsection can increase performance and can also mitigate the risks of injury.
If you have come here to learn about how to get a 6-pack, I can tell you right away it’s not all about doing sit-ups. To get 6 pack abs, you need to burn fat by doing high intensity, full-body exercises and maintaining a good diet and more. One of the best books I’ve ever read on the subject of six-pack abs are Diamond-Cut Abs How to Engineer The Ultimate Six-Pack–Minimalist Methods for Maximal Results. I completely recommend this to anyone after trying it myself – it is packed with 106 pages of information which answers just about any question you might have about achieving a 6-pack. The author also gives you diet and meal suggestions which are essential in your 6-pack goals. I personally still useDiamond-Cut Abs How to Engineer The Ultimate Six-Pack–Minimalist Methods for Maximal Results as reference to this day. Check it out now here!
How to do a traditional sit-up:
Performing the sit-up calisthenic exercise is as follows: “The exercise begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on the back muscles and spine, and then elevating both the upper and lower spine from the floor until everything superior to the buttocks is not touching the ground” (Wikipedia, Reference).
Some Various Forms of Sit-ups:
There are so many various forms of sit-ups, here are just some of the popular sit up forms in no particular order:
- Exercise Ball sit ups – Sit ups on an exercise ball!
- Elbow to Knee sit ups – Assume traditional sit-up position. Both feet on the ground and are static and never removed. Begin sit-up and bring right elbow to left knee, then back to original position, then left elbow to right knee.
- Bicycle sit ups – Similar to elbow to knee sit ups except feet are off the ground and are “bicycling”
- Incline sit ups – Sit ups on an incline!
- Hanging sit ups – Sit ups while hanging upside down from a horizontal bar such as a pull up bar
- V sit up – Start with your legs in the air at 45 degrees and your back on the ground. Throughout this exercise, your legs do not move from this 45 degree position! Begin by slowly siting up while maintaining the legs at 45 degrees. Only your torso should be moving – go up as far as you can and slowly come back down. Repeat. Get ready to feel the burn! (it’s okay if your legs are not at 45 degrees as this is a difficult sit-up to perform)
- N sit up – A sit-up movement in which the upper body and legs come together into a tuck. Begin lying flat on your back, slowly sit up and simultaneously lift your legs off the ground and bend them towards your torso at the knees. At the top point of this movement, only your buttocks will be on the ground, torso upright, and your knees tucked to the chest. Slowly go back down. Will you feel the burn? Oh yes.
- 90 Degree sit up – Same idea as V shape sit ups except your thighs are up and perpendicular to the ground while your legs are parallel to the floor – this makes your thighs and legs become a 90 degree angle (it’s okay if your legs do not stay at 90 degrees, this is a difficult sit-up to perform)
- Janda sit-ups – Assume traditional sit-up position. Allow someone to grab the back of your calves and have them pull slightly (or you can use flex bands if possible), as you slowly sit up, you will naturally want to pull back your legs increasing the resistance on abs and hip flexors. Be sure to maintain contraction in the glutes for proper form.
- “Surrender” sit-ups – Assume traditional sit-up position however the only difference is your arms “surrender.” Be sure to squeeze your hip muscles throughout this calisthenic exercise for added effect.
So there you go, those are some variations of the sit-up calisthenic exercise you can try at home. Some will definitely give you a burn such as the V situp and 90 Degree sit-up and some are easy enough for anyone to begin doing this exercise. If these various sit-up exercises don’t give your abs a good workout, nothing can!
Actually, there are other various calisthenic exercises from Pilates to engage and help your core. Read more about Pilates.
Common Mistakes with Sit-ups:
Sit-ups are an amazing exercise for your abdomens and hip flexors. However, they can cause a lot of strain on the back if not performed correctly or if performed too vigorously by beginners. Keep these common mistakes in mind so you don’t injure yourself:
- Placing the hands behind the head – Don’t! It is very likely that you will use your arms to force your head forward while performing a sit-up which can cause a neck injury. It is best to keep your hands against the side of your head. Personally, I keep my fingertips around my ears while performing sit-ups. The alternative is to cross your arms over your chest.
- Not going all the way down or up – make sure your shoulder blades touch the ground when you go down and elbows can touch your knees when you go up. You shouldn’t go “flat” on the ground as this will disengage your ab muscles throughout the exercise, but try to perform a full set before disengaging.
- Breathing – exhale when you go up and inhale when you go down
- Avoid doing sit-ups if you have any kind of back injuries! – when your feet are held down and your hip flexors become one of the primary muscles used to execute the sit-up, this causes a lots of force on your lower back. So avoid it if you have any back problems at all or consult your doctor.
Close attention must be paid to ensure you are not using other parts of your body to perform the sit-up because this will decrease the effectiveness of the sit-up and worse, it may cause injury. Start out slowly and gradually do more.
When you get comfortable doing these calisthenic sit-up exercises, you’ll be able to perform various activities with your core body more instinctively. Once you are able to “trust your gut,” you’ll also understand the limits about the core of your body and this will truly help you in your day-to-day activities also.
Mix up all the different sit-up exercises for maximum effect. Pick a variety of abdominal exercises that are most effective for you, and you’ll start getting results fast. Take the time to add a few challenging ab exercises to your routine, don’t go easy on yourself doing the same exercises.. that’s “cheating.”
Abdominal training is what gives you a strong, stable, and attractive physique. Getting the tight and defined midsection has the amazing ability to turn heads! But you and I know its true that it’s to say, tough to achieve!
Sit-ups will not give you 6-pack abs without other full body exercises and a good diet! A GOOD diet plan lets you eat to your belly’s content, but only with what you need and could use more of. Excessive sugar and sodium are the biggest enemy for most people trying to get abs. So get on a diet plan and eat to lose weight and stay healthy! If you would like a suggestion on diet plans, just contact me here and I’ll try to help you get to your goals! Everyone is different, so not all diet plans are same. Just let me know!