While the benefits of sit ups include strengthening your core muscles and building your abdominals, they don’t stop there. Sit ups are a no cost exercise, meaning they don’t cost you money, but they do cost you time and effort, things that any workout demands.
Sit ups are much like crunches, however the two exercises actually have some differences. While both sit ups and crunches require you to start out by lying flat on your back, a sit up requires you to lift your entire torso up into a semi-seated position, whereas a crunch simply means lifting just your shoulders and upper back off the ground.
Both sit ups and crunches will allow you to strengthen your core, but sit ups require a greater range of movement, which is what you need to take your workout to the next level and really tone your abs (and they burn more calories!).
Benefits of Sit Ups:
- Strengthen Core
- Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion
- Improve Posture
- Reduce Risk of Back Pain or Injuries
- Easily Modified
How to do a Sit Up:
Start by lying down flat on your back with your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Next, put your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out for support and bend your knees while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
Now, slowly lift your shoulders, head and neck off the floor, and make sure to keep your chin off your chest. Breathe out and lift up until you are about 30-35 degrees off the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and hold this position for 1-3 seconds. Finally, inhale while lowering your body back to the starting position. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
*Use your hands to supports your head, not to pull up, and keep your neck in a neutral position.
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Benefit #1 Strengthen Core
Sit ups are a bodyweight exercise that is effective at strengthening your core muscles. Body weight exercises mean the exercise (in this case sit ups) rely on nothing but the weight of your own body. Body weight exercises allow you to tone your body while also developing functional strength to do everyday tasks that exercises using heavier equipment can’t provide.
This exercise improves stamina by toning your muscles and strengthening your core and back muscles, which also help stabilize your body.
Sit ups are generally done much slower than crunches and other abdominal exercises which also helps improve endurance. In fact, core strength in general affects almost everything physical that you do, including improving your balance as well.
Benefit #2 Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion
By strengthening your core through sit ups, you’re also increasing your stability and flexibility. Sit ups can help improve your flexibility, especially in your hips and back. Increasing flexibility throughout your body, especially in these areas, can help keep your muscles performing at their peak. Everyone can benefit from increasing core stability and increasing flexibility, as they both help you improve your performance in other exercises, as well as everyday tasks.
Because sit ups work a handful of different muscles, they’re also a great exercise for improving mobility. The core muscles (and spine) that are worked by doing sit ups are crucial when it comes to a person’s ability to maintain balance and stability during any type of movement (whether it be exercise related or not). Sit ups can also strengthen the legs to improve mobile endurance.
*An increase in flexibility can also help prevent pulled muscles and other injuries.
Benefit #3 Improve Posture
Bodyweight exercises, like sit ups, are also great for improving posture since you’re not using any equipment or added weight, only the weight of your body. This, combined with a stronger core can allow you to naturally improve your posture. As core muscles become stronger and more toned, they force the body to compose itself in a more powerful way. By tightening your core muscles, your back is able to naturally straighten out, thus improving your posture.
Having good posture can also help prevent any future injuries because as a result, you’re able to hold yourself, muscles, and bones up properly. Good posture can have positive lasting effects on your body, and it also helps to improve confidence, which is something you may be seeking if you’re trying to tone your body.
Benefit #4 Reduce Risk of Back Pain or Injuries
Sit ups strengthen the muscles in your lower back, hips, and pelvis along with your abdomen. This helps these muscles work together to stabilize your body, which will also protect you from injuries. Strong core muscles help alleviate back pain, decrease muscle spasms, and protect your back against injury, especially when your posture is improved.
Sit ups are also effective for anyone who wants to train both their abdominal and hip flexor, however, they can also injure your back if you aren’t careful. Hip flexors are important stabilizers that help you bend and rotate, which is important in everyday life. So, make sure you are doing this exercise right, especially before you move into other variations.
Benefit #5 Easily Modified
Sit ups can be easily modified if you need more of a challenge or tend to get bored with the same exercise. You can perform sit ups on an incline to give yourself more gravity to fight or try holding a medicine ball or weight plate against your chest to build more strength. These two variations will add more intensity and make sit ups an incredible challenge.
There are so many benefits of this easy, core building, bodyweight exercise! Make sure to add sit ups to your next workout! If you need more of a challenge, try different variations of sit ups to reach your ultimate fitness goals.