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Exercises to Improve Your Sit-Up Game
To help improve your sit-up’s and strengthen your abdominal muscles we can help your sit-up technique and the amount of sit-up’s you are able to complete. The best way to strengthen these muscles is by doing exercises that either focus on your stomach or include this area such as core stability work. To better help you understand how you can do this we have listed a few tips to strengthen these muscles.
The abdominal curl is a piece of resistance equipment in the gym which could help you to improve your sit-up’s. The machine focuses on your abdominal muscles and follows the same concept as a regular sit-up. To perform the exercise, sit on the seat and ensure that your feet are secure behind the footpads. Take hold of the hand grips, curl your body forward toward your knees and then return to your starting position. Repeat this action for three sets of 12 or 15 repetitions. Focus on the movement coming from your stomach muscles rather than building up the momentum as you complete your set.
The plank can help strengthen the muscles you use to do sit-ups. It targets your back and abdominals but also includes the trapezius, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, deltoids, pectorals, serratus anterior, gluteus maximus, quadriceps and calves. To complete the exercise, lie flat on your stomach, place your elbows directly under your shoulders with your forearms on the floor and curl your toes under. Contract your core muscles and raise your body from the ground so that only your toes, elbows, forearms and hands remain in contact with the floor. Hold this raised position for up to a minute and return to the floor. Ensure that your torso remains straight as you hold the pose and your stomach does not sag.
Balancing on one leg encourages your abdominal muscles to engage. You will also use your gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, soleus, calf, tibialis anterior and obliques. To strengthen your core muscles, stand with your feet together and ensure that your shoulders are down and back, your spine is straight and your weight is spread evenly. When you are ready, bend one knee and lift the foot a few inches from the floor. Use your stomach muscles to stabilize your body and avoid the temptation to tilt to one side. Hold this for 15 second and repeat the exercise on the other side. To make this exercise harder, lift your foot higher, close your eyes or hold your arms above your head as you balance.
The cobra can help to stretch and open out your stomach muscles and counteract the curling forward action of sit-up exercises. Lie on your front with your hands pointing forward beneath your shoulders. As you exhale, straighten your elbows and arch your back to lift your upper body from the mat. Keep breathing and push down into your hips and hands to help your stability. Ensure that your elbows remain soft and you do not hyperextend your back at any point. Hold this position for 15 or 30 seconds before relaxing back down to the mat. By Kim Ford
Types of Sit-Ups & Crunches
Abdominal exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, are typically used to strengthen the core muscles. This type of exercise and core strengthening helps individuals obtain and maintain correct posture while also strengthening back muscles. These exercises are typically done in sets of three to five repetitions, three to four times a week and take about six weeks to show results. Always receive clearance from your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Abdominal Floor Crunches
Abdominal floor crunches, or sit-ups, work the upper and lower abdominal muscles. This exercise begins with you lying on your back on the floor with legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your neck for support only, do not pull on the neck during the exercise. Curl your body up, suing the abdominal muscles to pull your shoulders off the floor. Once your shoulders are lifted off the floor, lower yourself back to the starting position slowly. Maintain tension in your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise and repeat three to four times.
Abdominal Crunches with Exercise Ball
This exercise uses the same principles as the abdominal floor crunch with an exercise ball for added stability. Begin by rolling down the exercise ball until the small of your back is touching the ball. Your legs should be shoulder width apart. Place your head and neck on to the ball and cross your arms over your chest. You should be lying comfortably on the ball in a table top position. Use your abdominal muscles to curl your spine up in to the crunch position. Lower yourself back down to the starting position keeping tension on the abdominal muscles throughout the exercise. This version does require more stability and balance than the abdominal floor crunch.
Torso Twisting Sit-Ups
The side abdominal muscles, or external obliques, can be isolated using the torso twisting sit-up. Begin in a seated position with your arms at your sides for support. Your knees should be bent. Slowly twist your torso to one side, keeping your chest facing forward. Bend and straighten your legs, pulling your knees toward the side of your body. Repeat three to four times and switch sides. This exercise requires more balance and a strong back to be done properly.
The bicycle crunch is an abdominal exercise that works both the upper and lower abdominal muscles as well as the oblique, or side, abdominal muscles. Begin by lying on your back with your legs raised and knees bent to 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your neck or ears for support. Begin slowly moving your legs back and forth as if you are riding a bicycle. At the same time, crunch upward, lifting one shoulder blade off of the floor. You want to move the armpit as close to the opposite knee as possible during the crunch, repeating this motion on the opposite side. Continue this pattern for 10 repetitions and repeat as desired.
By Andrea Dixon – Livestrong.com