Wondering how to do sit-ups can seem slightly silly, especially as the move seems pretty self-explanatory. However, there are numerous ways to get this simple move wrong, particularly if you're rushing through without care.
This step-by-step guide walks you through the straightforward move that, when done properly, strengthens your core - the muscular foundation that aids almost every other strength and resistance-training exercise you can do.
The Muscles That are Worked by Sit-Ups
The sit-up is an abs exercise that is primarily designed to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. However, it also targets your rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, as well as, your hip flexors, chest, and neck.
The Benefits of Sit-Ups
The core-strengthening exercise has many benefits:
- Improved posture
- Greater core strength
- Improved muscle mass
- Increased athletic performance
- Better balance and stability
- Reduced risk of back pain
- Diaphragm strengthening
Are sit-ups bad for you?
Along with the benefits, it's always important to look at the potential downfalls of an exercise. So, what does that include for the sit-up?
According to Harvard Health Publications, sit-ups can be very hard on the spine and potentially damaging. So, to make sure you're giving yourself the best chance when it comes to sit-ups - swerving clear of any back pain - follow our step-by-step guide to performing the move correctly.
How to do a sit-up
- Lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilise your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders over your chest or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck.
- Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Exhale as you lift.
- Slowly, lower yourself down, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower.
Do sit-ups help target belly fat?
It's impossible to say that one exercise will specifically help with one stubborn area of fat. But, sit-ups do play a role in helping you lose fat in general. Doing sit-ups at a moderate intensity for 10 minutes without rest, burns as much as 60 calories.
Number of sit-ups you need to do
This may differ for each person but, according to experts, combining three sets of sit-ups of 25 to 50 repetitions each, is how to build and sculpt your abs.