Fitness 101: The Right Way To Do A Sit-Up
By Michelle October
Find sit-ups a pain in the neck? You’re probably doing ’em wrong. We’re here to help…
Just when we thought the sit-up had been thoroughly dethroned, it turns out old-faithful still has a place in your abs routine. “The sit-up – when done correctly – will continue to be an effective exercise as it targets the abdominal muscles directly,” says Wendy-Joy Timmes, head trainer at . Problem is, there’s a good chance you’re doing them wrong. Most of the gripes women have with sit-ups are the neck pains associated with them, but, according to Timmes, this just means your form is off. “Women often place their hands behind their head to start doing a crunch. This means you’re pulling on your neck rather than using your abs to lift your torso.”
Save your neck with this simple hack
While still on your back, suck in your tummy, imagining you can bring your belly button all the way into your back. “This will create a sensation of tightness around the tummy area – essentially waking up the ab muscles. It also reduces the chances of a strained neck,” explains Timmes. If you did it right, you should feel your pelvis tilt up a little and your lower back press into the floor. From here, peel your spine off the floor, rather than jerking upright.
Signs you’re doing it wrong:
Your neck is hurting.
Follow Timmes’ advice and tighten up your core before taking off – and lift from your chest
area, not your neck. If your neck is still tired, put one hand behind it for support.
You’re out of breath.
This likely means your breathing patterns are wrong. Breathe in before sitting up and breathe out when you’re up and your hands are reaching to your knees.
Your back is hurting.
“The back muscles perform a supporting function when doing a sit-up and many women have weak back muscles,” says Timmes. Keeping your legs hip-width apart and lengthening your ribs slightly will protect your lower back.
– You have a hernia.
– “Many pregnant women manage Pilates-based core exercises until late into their pregnancy,” says Timmes. But get the clear from your doc before attempting it.
Want to ace more mores? Here’s how to do a bicep curl (the right way).