Sit-Ups Exercise Guide

Sit-ups are one of the most popular exercises out there and for good reason. They are often used in exercise programs due to their simplicity and effectiveness. Aside from being an excellent abdominal workout, sit-ups also provide great benefits for the entire body.

Sit-ups can be done anytime, anywhere as they don't require any special skills or equipment. Whether at home or in a gym, sit-ups are a perfect exercise to add to your routine. 

How To Do Sit Ups

How To Do Sit-Ups

Setting Up

Make sure you have a comfortable floor space or exercise mat to lie down on. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Place your hands behind your head or on either side of your head. You can also place each hand on the opposite shoulder so your arms cross over the front of your body, whichever you find more comfortable.

Bring your ribcage down and slightly tuck your pelvis. This will help you to engage your core. All repetitions will begin from this position. 


Start the upward movement by squeezing your abs. Lift your upper body off the floor towards your knees. Exhale while you do so and pause at the top of the movement for a couple of seconds.

Next, inhale while slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. Make sure that you maintain tension in your abs.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. 


  • Make sure that your muscles are working hard by performing the sit-ups in a controlled manner. This also lessens the chances of getting injuries from doing this exercise.
  • Avoid using your hands to pull up your head when performing sit-ups. This not only increases the chances of straining your neck but also makes your core work less than it should. 
  • Give yourself and your core time to rest and recover between ab workouts.

Exercise Benefits

  • Builds and maintains core strength
  • Improves mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improves Posture

Illustrated Guide

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles

  • Abdominals

Secondary Muscles

  • Neck Muscles

Sit-Ups Variations

Weighted Sit-ups 

One fantastic variation to the sit-ups is to add weights such as a dumbbell or kettlebell as it adds resistance to the exercise, making the muscles work harder. To do a weighted sit-up, simply hold the weight close to your chest, or hold it overhead as you lift your upper body up towards your knees. 

Reverse Crunches

With reverse crunches, you bring your knees up into your chest instead of bringing your chest up to your knees. This exercise effectively targets your lower abdominals.

Reverse crunches can be done back-to-back with regular crunches for beginners looking to build well-rounded abs.

Stability Ball Sit ups

Performing sit-ups on a stability ball is ideal for people who find this exercise painful on their tailbone and back as it supports the natural curve of the spine. 

Sit-Ups Alternatives


The plank is an extremely well-known exercise for the core, and it is often used as a warm-up. It helps to increase strength, flexibility, and endurance. exercise.

To start the pose, lie face down on the mat and position your hands by your shoulders. At your own pace, lift your body off the mat and straighten your arms and back.

You can hold this position for as long as you can, and you can begin to increase the time that you hold it. Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the pose to help maintain your balance and stability.  

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are an all-round core exercise for building abs, increasing core strength and burning fat at the same time.

Get down into a plank or push up position, but with your arms straight and fully extended (your hands should be underneath your shoulders). In this position, “sprint” on the spot while bringing your knees into your chest.

You can bring your knees up in a straight motion to target your abs, or towards the elbow opposite from your knee to target your obliques.


These exercises target both your abdominal and hip muscles, making them ideal for people who suffer from back pain.

To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms on the ground.

Then, raise your hips as high as you can so that your butt is off the floor and your spine is lifted. Lower your back down slowly. Repeat this for at least ten reps before you allow yourself to rest. 

Kevin Harris