Sit Ups Not Best Exercise for Training Abdominals!
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Sit Ups Not Best Exercise for Training Abdominals!

Sit Ups Not Best Exercise for Training Abdominals!

Most women think that in order to get a slim and sexy stomach, they need to increase the amount of sit-ups they do everyday. Sit-ups by themselves will work the muscles of the stomach, but they don’t burn that many calories and therefore will not burn that much body fat. It’s best to include other forms of exercise and a calorie controlled diet to achieve good results. This may surprise many women, but sit-ups are really not a good abdominal exercise for core strength.

Research was conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at Montclair State University, reported that the traditional sit-up may be a poor choice for core strength training due to its focus on hip flexion.

Researchers examined differences in abdominal and hip flexor muscle activation and trunk and hip kinematics between the traditional US Army sit-up and a modified sit-up focusing on trunk flexion.

Eighteen trained males performed 30 seconds of repetitions of each sit-up style while muscle activation of the rectus abdominis (RA), external oblique (EO), and rectus femoris (RF) was recorded using electromyography (EMG).

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At the end of the study, the researchers found that the maximum EMG of the rectus femoris and external oblique, and mean muscle activation of the rectus femoris were greater during the traditional sit-up. In contrast, mean EMG and iEMG of the rectus abdominis and external oblique were greater during the modified sit-up. Peak trunk flexion was greater during the modified sit-up and peak hip flexion was greater during the traditional sit-up. In short, the traditional sit places greater emphasis on on hip flexion during this sit-up style, which may result in lumbar hyperextension and greater chance for injury.

The greater abdominal activation of the rectus abdominis and external oblique activity and peak trunk flexion during the modified sit-up suggest a greater emphasis on trunk flexion during this exercise, which may decrease the lumbar spine load. Therefore, the modified sit-up may be a better exercise selection to train the abdominal muscles.

Sullivan W, Gardin FA, Bellon CR, Leigh S. The effect of the traditional
versus a modified bent-knee sit-up on abdominal and hip flexor muscle EMG
activity. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 May 11.

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