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Sit ups: How-to, useful tips, Common mistakes + FAQ

The classic when it comes to abdominal exercises: sit-ups. This exercise has been performed for decades to get strong abs and in many cases also for a visible six-pack. It's a fairly simple exercise to learn, and a big advantage of sit-ups is that you can perform them without any equipment or other supplies.

In this article, you will learn which muscles to train, how to perform the sit-ups correctly, which mistakes not to make and how you can make it easier or harder with different variations. In short; everything you need to know!

Which muscles do you train?

It should be clear that you perform sit-ups for one specific muscle group, namely your abs. The exercise is therefore designed for this muscle group and can be seen as an isolation exercise. This means that you do not actually train any other muscle group with the sit-up.

During the performance, there may be some pressure on your back. Some people do not recommend doing sit-ups because of this. If you notice that you are getting pain in your back, it might be an idea to have someone watch the performance or to choose another exercise. This is therefore not a good sign and is not part of the good execution of the exercise.

Sit ups: How-to, useful tips, Common mistakes + FAQ

Performing the sit-ups

View the step-by-step explanation of the sit-ups here. Try to perform the steps one by one and always strive for correct execution. This way you will perform the exercise as efficiently as possible.

1. Lie on your back on a flat surface

A flat surface is most comfortable to do a good sit-up. To make it more pleasant for yourself, you can choose to purchase a fitness mat. As a result, you will be less bothered by the surface you lie on.

2. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor

You can also choose to hook your feet under a heavy object so that you can perform the exercise more easily and your feet don't come off the floor.

3. Lie down in the starting position

Now place your hands crossed on your chest or hold them behind your head. This is the starting position from which you will do the first rep.

4. Move your upper body up

Tighten your abs and lift your upper body without moving your legs. Make a rolling movement up, as it were, moving your chest towards your knees. Make sure this is done in a controlled manner and exhale gently during the movement.

5. Move your upper body back down to the starting position

Now make a controlled movement back to the starting position. While doing this you can inhale again.

6. Repeat as many times as desired

You can now do multiple reps. For example, aim for 15 reps in a set. Doesn't this work? Then you just do less. Is this too easy? Then you may be able to make it harder by grabbing a weight or doing even more reps.

As described in step 1, it is comfortable to purchase a fitness mat. Via the links below you can view the online range of a number of large shops so that you can see what kind of mats are available and which ones you want to order.

Most common mistakes

To ensure that you do not make the most common mistakes, we explain them clearly here. Read through the information below and discover when you make such a mistake yourself and therefore do not perform the exercise optimally.

Performing the exercise with a hollow back

When you make a hollow back during a sit-up, you will notice that you do not feel the exercise enough in the abdominal muscles. This not only feels very uncomfortable, it is also a lot less efficient. So try to roll up from the lying position with your upper body, as it were. This actually makes your back a bit around and you are forced to use your abs.

Not keeping

your arms in position When the going gets tough, you often want to automatically move your arms forward. By sticking these out in front of you, you make the movement a little easier. So try to avoid this and keep your arms neatly close to your body.

Moving feet off the floor

You should keep your feet flat on the floor while performing your sit-ups. When the exercise gets tough, you will automatically want to lift your feet off the floor. However, you want to prevent this to be able to perform the exercise as neatly as possible.

If it really doesn't work out, you can choose to clamp your feet under a heavy object. This way they stay neatly in position and you can perform the exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sit-Ups

We conclude the explanation about sit-ups with a number of questions that are regularly asked. Is your question not listed and do you still want to know something? Leave your question below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

What is better? Sit-ups or crunches?

Sit-ups are sometimes under fire because they can be taxing on the back. Do you already have problems with your back and are you not allowed to put any weight on it? Then it will be better to opt for crunches. The choice is of course entirely yours. You may just have a preference for one of these two exercises, but if you don't have or do not have any problems with your back, you can continue to perform sit-ups.

In addition, be open to other alternatives, such as an ab wheel rollout or hanging leg raises.

Is Doing Sit Ups Every Day Good?

You regularly see those challenges where you have to do sit-ups and/or other exercises for the abs every day. Now these are usually bodyweight exercises and the load on your body is not that bad, but it is not ideal to do sit-ups every day. Your abs don't get much time to really recover. In addition, it is possible that your abdominal muscles develop too much compared to other muscles, which can be to the detriment of your posture.

Can you do sit-ups in bed?

Yes, it is possible to do sit-ups from your bed. This will take some getting used to, since your mattress is of course a lot less hard than the floor. Want more abs exercises that you can do from bed?

Are sit-ups good for a flat stomach?

You can train the abs with sit-ups, but that is of course no guarantee for a flat stomach. If you want a smaller waist, you will have to lose fat. To do this, you need to have a negative calorie balance. Do you want to know more about how to lose weight, so that your abs become more visible?

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