Muscle group: The abdominal muscles
Trained muscle: All parts of the abdominal muscles
Focused muscle: Rectus abdominis (straight abdominal muscle)
Sit-ups are related to abdominal crunches (please read this article first). We have the same starting position and body alignment. The difference in the execution is that we also lift our lower back from the ground until we reach an up-straight position (sit-up). Mostly it is necessary to fixate the legs in this exercise. This can be realized in different ways, e.g.: with a partner, on an incline bench, or by putting the feet under wall bars or similar.
Please note that performing abdominal sit-ups the hip flexors (see the leg muscles) are activated as well. These muscles are stronger than the abdominal muscles, tilt the pelvis, and can cause a hollow back in that way. It is important to ease this exercise as soon as a clean execution can no longer be ensured.
Sit-ups become pretty intense using extra weights held tightly on the chest. It is also possible to do twisted sit-ups rotating the upper body to the side when lifted from the ground. A quite intense variation would be to combine sit-ups with leg lifts, what requires good balance and a strong abdominal musculature.
The basic version of the sit-up with fixated legs can be performed by all fitness levels. Only advanced and experienced sportsmen and -women should practise variations of the abdominal sit-up. Please avoid press breathing (exhalation against closed airways).
Antagonist: Lower back muscles
Stretching: Abdominal stretches
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