Sit Ups for Your Abs

Do Sit Ups Really Work Your Abs?

Sit-ups are regarded as a common workout to control and build-up your abdominal muscles. But the truth is that if you’ve a goal to achieve flat belly, then doing only sit-ups may not be the best option for you. There are various reasons for that. Now a days, all expert fitness instructors opine that targeted fat loss or spot reduction is not possible by using only fitness products or doing sit-ups only. They are now saying that fat reduction should happen in the entire body. You need to understand that there is a clear difference between losing fat and strengthening the ab muscle. Therefore doing only sit-ups will not bring any expected results in this regard.

But before going in to detail of sit-ups and how it works on your abs, we should look into sit-up exercise once more and see how it affects the abdominal muscles.

 

What Is Sit-ups

Sit-ups target your abs and hip. There is a procedure to do sit-ups so that your abdominal muscles and hips are affected.

 

Sit-up Procedure

1. At first bent your knees and sit on the floor. Your heels will be in touch with the floor. Keep your both hands on either side of the head. Drop shoulders and relax to avoid tension in your neck.

2. Keep the feet on the ground.  Now do lie back until the back is flat on the floor.

3. Then rise your back up.

4. Keep repeating for few minutes.

 

Will Only Sit-up Do The Work?

On the contrary, to common beliefs that six-pack is achievable with countless sit-ups, the reality is that you need to do a lot more things besides sit-ups. Authors of the book The New Rules of Lifting for Abs, Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove opine that sit-ups should be regarded as one of the most dangerous routes of working the major abdominal muscles. Spinal specialist Stuart McGill in his note in Low Back Disorders says, “Enough sit-ups will cause damage in most people.” This happens due to the nature of this exercise where you’ve to bend the spine.

There is one major health concern with sit-ups. Many researchers and fitness specialists have said that both forms of sit-ups i.e. straight and bent-leg sit-ups impose compression on the spine. The amount of compression is large almost 3,506 and 3,350 newtons respectively for both forms. Repetitive execution of full sit-up puts above tolerable amount of strain on the human spine.

Another major concern is the twisting movements during sit-ups that impose large compression forces on your spine. Moreover, it has been observed and measured that twisting has no extra benefits. Rather, health professionals recommend that you should stick to just one plane of movement and avoid twisting at top position. Otherwise, in worst-case scenario you’ll suffer from back pain and injury.

 

What Can Be Done?

Lower Pressure

The human spine is made up of vertebrae, which are separated by discs. To help protect this spine from injury, these discs act like shock absorbers. Researchers have proved that when you repeatedly bend the spine back and forth (like what happens during sit-ups) these discs are damaged causing problem for the spine. Therefore, while doing sit-ups it is better you bent the legs rather than keeping them straight. This will take away the stress off your back.

Alternatives

Any good exercise has good risk-to-benefit ratio. There are some better options for abs exercises other than sit-ups. Even there are some exercises that will work on the abdominal muscles harder compared to sit-ups. While comparing the effectiveness of several of the abdominal exercises that include rollouts, sit-ups, and crunches, it was found that some of those highest abdominal muscle activities were seen in rollout. Interestingly, doing rollout involves no spinal flexion. There are less risk of damaging your tissues from exercises like those that rollouts, fallouts, stir the pot or the body saw. These exercises will affect the same body muscles.

Last update: March 06, 2017 08:36:34 pm

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