How to Do a Sit-Up

Sit-ups are a classic addition to any fitness routine that requires no additional equipment to complete. While sit-ups are known to target the abdominals, they also activate the pectorals of the chest, the hip flexors, the lower back, and neck. Sit-ups are considered by some to not be worth the possible injury to the lower back, but they can be beneficial as long as you maintain proper form.

Strengthening your abdominals can help to improve your posture, which in turn aids in the overall health of your upper body. A strong core can also help to avoid back injuries and help you move more easily while you perform everyday activities. As an added bonus, sit-ups can help to strengthen the diaphragm, which works to improve respiratory function.

How To

  • To perform a standard sit-up, lie on your back on the floor and place your feet flat on the floor with a slight bend in your knees. Hands should be lightly touching the sides of your head at about the level of your ears.
  • Engage your core and exhale as you pull your chest up toward your thighs. At the top of the motion, you will be sitting upright. If you have your hands at the sides of your head, make sure you do not start using your hands to pull on your head.
  • To complete the motion, take a breath and then slowly lower yourself back to the floor.  


A good goal is to work toward two to three sets of 10–15 repetitions. Give your core one day in between to recover, and start out slowly if you are just beginning to strengthen your abdominals.


Weighted sit-ups: Performing weighted sit-ups increase the potential for injury, so be especially mindful of maintaining proper form. You can do this by holding a weight plate behind your head. If you can’t maintain proper form, revert back to a standard sit-up.

Incline sit-ups: To increase the difficulty, use an incline bench, which positions your head below your feet. The result is that you have to lift your torso farther and your abdominals start in a more elongated positon.

Decline sit-ups: If you need to decrease the difficulty, you can also perform the exercise on a declined surface. Having your upper body above your legs decreases the amount of weight you are lifting.

Cautionary Notes

Make sure not to pull on your head as you sit up. You can cause major strain to your neck and spine by doing this. If you find yourself continuously pulling on your neck, try crossing your arms over your chest instead.

Some people may have trouble engaging their core and may allow their lower back to arch, which can lead to major lower back strain. To prevent this, keep the lower back pressed into the floor as you perform the exercise. If you continue to experience strain in your lower back, either seek assistance from a fitness instructor or cease the exercise.

Try to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed during the movement. Allowing tension into your neck and shoulders during the exercise can put unnecessary strain on your muscles.

Other Abdomen and obliques Exercises

Leg raise
Russian twist

More Sit-Up Related Resources

Why You Should Do Crunches And Sit Ups – 20 Ab Exercises
Fitness experts agree that sit-ups are worthless – here are 9 moves they recommend instead | Business Insider Espa¤a
Sit-Ups vs. Crunches
3 Ways to Do Sit Ups – wikiHow
21 Sit-Up Variations You Won’t Totally Hate |
How to Do a Correct Sit-Up |
Sit-up – Sworkit | At Home Workout and Fitness Plans

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