How to Sit Up
What is a sit up?
Introducing sit ups to your workouts is one way to help boost your core strength. It can also help improve your digestion, as the motion strengthens the abdominal muscles that allow the intestines to function correctly. This ab exercise can be performed with using nothing more than your own bodyweight which means you can do it anywhere, whether that in or out the gym.
One of the many reasons sit ups are ever-popular is that they're easy to modify (e.g. doing them on an incline or while holding weights) so you can continue to challenge yourself as your core strength improves.
To perform the perfect sit up keep your feet, hips and knees aligned with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, and exhale on your way up and inhale as you return to the start position.
To get you started we've put together our favourite sit up exercises for you to try.
Sit Up tips
- To get the most from each sit up perform the exercise slowly or in a controlled manner. This ensures your muscles are working hard and lets you concentrate on your form, which decreases the likelihood of injury.
- Don't use your arms to pull up your head as it takes pressure off your core muscles giving them less of a workout and can put additional strain on your neck.
- If you're new to sit-ups, ensure you leave at least one day's rest between ab workouts to give your core time to recover.
Equipment: no equipment required
Lie on the floor facing the ceiling with a slight bend in your knees and arms bent at the elbows and hands lightly touching your head by the ears.
Engage your core and lift your upper body so your right elbow touches your left knee.
Return to the start position then lift your upper body so your left elbow touches your right knee.
Return to the start position.
Pulse sit ups
No equipment required.
- Lie on the floor facing the ceiling with a slight bend in your knees and arms bent at the elbows and hands lightly touching your head by the ears.
- Engage your core and lift your upper body towards your knees.
- Rather than returning to the start position, lean back slightly then forward again in a quick pulse fashion.
V sit up
Equipment required: you can perform this exercise without any equipment or you can make it more challenging my using a pair of dumbbells, a barbell or weighted plate.
- Lie flat on the floor facing the ceiling. Extend your arms overhead, hands touching the floor.
- Squeeze your abs and lift your shoulders and legs off the floor at the same time. Try to reach your hands to your feet.
- Slowly return back to starting position.
If you'd like to make this ab exercise more challenging, hold a weighted dumbbell or weighted plate with both hands as you do the movement.
If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.