Abdominal exercises are some of the most coveted exercises for any fitness enthusiast. A strong and fit core not only gives you six pack abs but also strengthens your mid section and gives you great posture. Many people do mindless sit-ups compromising on the form and the technique. It is very important to do the sit ups with the correct form as this will not only give you the desired results but also protect your stomach and back from injuries.
There has been a lot of hue and cry over fitness gadgets that claim to mimic the sit up and give you a chiselled stomach. At the end of the day the conventional sit up beats the other exercises by a huge margin if it is performed correctly. Here are some of the steps that you need to follow to do a perfect sit up. These steps will help you to master the technique of doing a perfect sit up.
Tips For Perfect Sit Ups
Finding a Soft and Padded Surface
One of the most important aspects of performing any abdominal workout routine is to find the correct floor or surface. An excessively hard surface will put a lot of pressure on your back and spine and give you a very bad back ache.
Ideally, a cushioned floor or a rubberized floor found in gyms is ideal for performing the sit up. These floors are designed to give your body the correct comfort and support while performing the sit up. You can also use a special yoga mat made of foam. These are extensively used for performing floor exercises.
Position Yourself Flat on the Back
Lie down on your back with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. This will allow you to perform the sit up with ease and also challenge your muscles in the process. There are machines available at the gym which anchor your feet while you do the sit up.
This is ideally not recommended as it takes the work away from the abs. You then start using your hips and legs to perform your sit ups for you, which eventually makes the exercise a lot less challenging.
How to Position your Hands
The correct positioning of the hands makes all the difference while performing a conventional sit up. If you are a beginner, make sure you position your hands at your side and use your full body to come up. Intermediate performers can keep their hands crossed on their chests while doing this exercise.
For more advanced trainers, the conventional hands behind the heads works best for performing the sit up. As you build up your core strength, start putting your hands behind your head. Position them gently. Do not interlace your fingers as this can pull at your head while you are coming up. Not only that but your neck too will be unduly strained.
Do a Gradual Full Range of Motion
When you are actually executing the sit ups, make sure that you perform the exercise very slowly. Do a complete and full range of motion as this helps the abdominal muscles to be challenged in the right way. It is also very important to come up slowly.
Exhale as you come up and hold on to the stretch. Feel the abdominal muscles contracting. The slower you perform the exercise, the better you will get developing core strength and getting rock hard abs.
Always exhale when you are coming up. This makes you suck in your abs and creates tension in the muscles, which is needed to challenge them. Inhale as you go down. Most people err on this basic tenet of performing the correct sit up.
Not breathing properly will take away from you the speed at which you strengthen and build your core. If you are inhaling while coming up, it also causes undue strain on your back muscles and puts you at risk for a very severe back injury.
Squeezing the Muscles
A tougher way of performing the sit up is to not come up fully but to raise your head and shoulders just 6 inches from the floor. Hold the position and squeeze your stomach muscles tightly. This is a more effective way of toning the stomach muscles and getting a shapely stomach.
Lowering Yourself to the Starting Position
When you lower yourself down, do not completely touch down but keep your shoulders and head a few inches off the floor. This prevents the muscles from becoming lax as you raise yourself again to perform a sit up. This keeps the abs muscles taut and supple.
Always stay aware and conscious of how you perform the abdominal exercises. Look at your body as a machine, which is designed to perform the exercises with correct form and technique.
The perfect sit up is no child’s play but requires a certain degree of finesse and technique to perform it correctly. Keep the focus on the muscles and ensure that they are being strained correctly.
Keep it Practical
Many people come down with back breaking injuries trying to perform 500 sit-ups in a day. You don’t need to do too much to get toned abs. It is always better to just do 3-4 sets of 20 reps and follow it up with a good and healthy diet, as this will go a long way in giving you the results that you want to see on your body.
It is also important to not overdo the sit ups. Work on your muscles no more than 3-4 times a week. If you have just started, doing the half sit up is any day better than doing the full sit up. Chalk out goals and increase the reps and intensity when you find yourself getting fitter.
Always do lesser reps initially and then gradually build up. Focus on the quality and the technique of the sit up which is more important than the number of sit ups that you perform. With the above steps, you will be easily able to perform the perfect sit up.
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