For many years sit-ups have been the main exercise for almost all the fitness programs. They tend to be the most important one of any other workout exercises without weight. And the main muscle they are claimed to help is the abdominal muscles. A common misconception that they tend to remove the extra flab from your waistline is definitely not true. But, they do tend to help tone your muscles and help protect your back and improve your physique.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of how to do them, we should consider how not to do them?
So, What are the mistakes People Do while doing Sit-ups?
The main thing required for them to be effective is that they must pull the torso upward using only the abdominal muscles. However, often this is not achieved and people get frustrated and say that even though I performed 200 sit-ups everyday, I do not see the results. This is because of the fact that the more powerful muscles like the ones of hips and legs tend to do much of the work.
Even though bending the legs is a good practice while performing this exercise, and they actually help to neutralize the action of the hip and leg muscles, the abdominal muscles are only involved in the initial phase of the exercise. You should not do them quickly and with momentum, as these do not affect in any way to our cause. Instead doing them slowly and calmly, also just halfway helps a lot more than the complete cycle.
Twisting the right elbow to the left knee can also be hazardous as they introduce rotational stress on the lower back. Additionally using straight leg, arches the back and may create strain.
So, What is the right way?
The right way of doing sit-ups is to lie on your back with your legs bent to at least 90 degrees with your feet. Then choose the position of the hands closer to your head, but do not interlace the fingers behind your head, as it increases the tendency of pulling your head and cause a serious injury to your neck.
Now, start each movement slowly and exhale when your abdominal muscles contract. This will ensure involvement of the deeper muscles. Stop at about half way and tense your abdominal muscles. Then go back to the original position, but now, do not completely touch the head to the floor, then start repeating the process.
A proper set of 5 repetitions is better than 100 improper ones.