Sit Up

  • Area Served: Northern California
  • docs to perform:Guarav Abbi


The sit up exercise is a common and basic exercise that targets muscles in the abdomen to create tone and promote flexibility. With frequent use, it can create the six-pack many desire. To complete this exercise, all you need is a mat to lie down on and enough space for your body.

To perform a proper sit up, lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your shoulder blades should be at the back of your elbows for proper form. Place your hands or your fingertips behind your head but avoid pushing your head while doing this exercise because the force may lead to neck injury. Slowly lift your head first, then your torso, reaching for your bent knees. Hold the position for one second, then return to the starting position. Your hands should only be supporting your head lightly so that your neck can be relaxed during the exercise, not being used to pull yourself up. Your abdominals must be at an angle of no more than 35 degrees, and your lower back must stay against the floor for effective isolation of the abdomen.


The muscles that the sit up targets are the rectus abdominis (the wall of the abdomen), the obliques (the side muscles of the abdomen), the tensor fasciae latae (the muscles on the hip and towards the upper front of the femur) and the rectus femoris (one of the four muscles comprising the quadriceps).

With regular use, the abdominal muscles will become tighter and more toned. The rectus femoris also becomes more flexible, leading to h3er hips, and the tensor fasciae latae will make it easier to bend at the hips.

All of the engaged muscles will be strengthened toned, contributing to a lean and physically fit physique.

Sets and Repetitions

If a standard sit up is difficult or causes pain, use an exercise ball against the back to help lift the torso up toward the knees.

For beginners, start with two sets of eight to 12 repetitions. For a challenge, more advanced athletes can complete three sets of 20 or more repetitions. Avoid overdoing the exercise because it can lead to neck injury and shoulder strain.

Instagram Video

Here is an Instagram video that demonstrates the sit up.

Related Amazon Product Links

The exercise ball or the medicine ball can assist you in doing your sit-ups by putting it on your back while you complete your repetitions.

The sit up bar is handy in helping with sit-ups because it keeps your feet on the ground. For beginners, it can be difficult to keep your feet on the ground. To use properly, place the sit up bar between the feet and hook it onto the door so that your feet remain steady on the floor.

Top Performance Metrics

Several fitness pioneers have reach top records in sit ups such as Jack LaLanne, who completed 1,033 sit ups in just 23 minutes, and David Begiashvilli, who has done 1,430 sit ups in 30 minutes.

Related Movements

Incorporating other exercises with sit-ups helps speed up results. Planks, lunges and pushups are great exercises to add to your sit up routine.

Related Foods

Certain foods are necessary to consume before and after your workout to aid in better results. Proper diet also plays an important role in exercising. Apples with peanut butter, sweet potatoes and brown rice with black beans are great foods to consume before a sit up. After the workout, choose from chocolate milk, salad with roasted chickpeas and steamed vegetables.

YouTube Video

Here is a YouTube video on how to perform a sit up.

Celebrity Use

Jenny McCarthy, six-time cover girl for Playboy magazine, does sit-ups as part of her workout routine. For the lead role in Southpaw, Jake Gyllenhaal routinely did 2,000 sit-ups in order to attain the desired boxer physique. It was one part of asix-hour daily training regimen he did to get in shape for the role.

Functional Use

Most of the results will be felt in the abdomen. Sit-ups result in a lean physique by burning excess body fat.

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