Trying to get your core strengthened and maybe aiming for a six-pack? Although sit-ups can help, you can choose better. Here are 3 abs exercises better than sit-ups for that shredded-looking belly.
A strong core is correlated to good health and a fit body. Everyone wants to be able to show off their six-pack. Although it comes down to having a low body fat percentage, which is mainly done through diet, you should also be exercising your abs to make the six-pack show up faster.
In the video below, sports teacher and YouTube fitness guru Alex Lorenz lists 3 abs exercises better than sit-ups. He is the co-founder of Calisthenic Movement and has trained Calisthenics since 2012, uploading videos regularly for those people interested in getting in shape using only their body weight.
Abs Exercises Better Than Sit-Ups
According to Lorenz, sit-ups will only work on your rectus abdominis and are also limiting in intensity and could impact negatively your spine. So what are these abs exercises better than sit-ups that Lorenz talks about?
1. Knee Raise
Leg raise or knee raises are great for your abs, but the knee raise made the cut here because it targets your abs without being hindered by your mobility or lack of.
The knee raise can be done in a supporting or hanging position. Make sure you don’t use any momentum to do the movement as it takes away the tension from your abs.
2. Knee to Elbow Plank + Side Plank
These are two exercises combined that will get the best bang for your buck and that is why it is on this list of abs exercises better than sit-ups.
Always make sure to have a posterior pelvic tilt to engage the abs more for the first part of the exercise. Aim for a hollow body position for optimum core engagement.
For the plank, keep your body as horizontal as possible, don’t just hang in your structures, push your arm, leg and shoulder blade into the ground.
The side plank can be done with one or two legs on the ground – one leg is much harder to stabilise yourself.
If a normal plank is too easy for you, you can adjust the difficulty by lengthening the lever between your elbows and your feet, the two supporting points. The further you move your body backwards, the harder the exercise gets.
However, the bigger the distance, the more stress you will put on your spine which is bad if you cannot hold the position with your pelvic tilted forward.
This exercise can also be done by taking off one foot from the ground or one hand, or both, to add instability and create more tension on your abs.
And those are the 3 abs exercises better than sit-ups that you should incorporate into your training whenever you can. To see how each exercise is performed exactly, with extra tips from Lorenz, click on the video below.
VIDEO – Abs Exercises Better Than Sit-Ups
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Sit-ups are a classic abdominal exercise that many people use to target their core muscles. However, they are often considered less effective and potentially even detrimental compared to other abdominal exercises. Here are some reasons why sit-ups are not always the best choice for training your abs:
- Spinal Strain: Sit-ups involve repeated flexion and extension of the spine, which can put excessive stress on the lower back. This can lead to discomfort, strain, and even the risk of injury, particularly if proper form is not maintained.
- Limited Muscle Engagement: Sit-ups primarily target the rectus abdominis (frontal abdominal muscles) and neglect other important core muscles like the obliques and transverse abdominis. A comprehensive core workout should engage all these muscle groups for balanced strength and stability.
- Risk of Neck Strain: Many people tend to pull on their neck or use their hands to lift their upper body during sit-ups. This can strain the neck muscles and cervical spine, leading to discomfort or injury.
- Inefficient Abdominal Activation: Sit-ups can lead to excessive hip flexor activation, especially when the movement is not controlled properly. This means the hip flexors do a significant portion of the work, reducing the effectiveness of the exercise for targeting the abs.
- Alternative Exercises: There are more effective and safer exercises that target the core muscles without placing as much strain on the spine and neck. Planks, mountain climbers, leg raises, bicycle crunches, Russian twists, and other variations engage the core more effectively and can be kinder to your back.
- Individual Differences: People have varying degrees of flexibility and spinal health. Some individuals may experience discomfort or pain during sit-ups due to their unique anatomical considerations.
- Focus on Functional Strength: While abdominal strength is important, core stability and strength are even more critical for overall functional fitness. Exercises that emphasize stability, such as planks and other anti-rotation movements, are more relevant for day-to-day activities and sports performance.
- Risk of Overuse: Repetitive flexion and extension of the spine in sit-ups can lead to overuse injuries over time, particularly if sit-ups are the primary or exclusive abdominal exercise.
For a well-rounded core workout, consider incorporating exercises that emphasize stability, balance, and engagement of all core muscles. It’s also important to maintain proper form during any exercise to reduce the risk of injury. If you have concerns about your abdominal exercise routine or are experiencing discomfort, consider consulting a fitness professional or physical therapist to receive guidance on the most suitable exercises for your individual needs and goals.
Having a strong core is essential for overall health, functional fitness, and daily activities. The core muscles play a central role in stabilizing and supporting the body, and their strength influences various aspects of physical performance and well-being. Here are some reasons why having a strong core is important:
- Posture and Stability: A strong core helps maintain proper posture by stabilizing the spine and pelvis. This can prevent issues like rounded shoulders, forward head posture, and excessive curvature of the spine.
- Improved Balance: Core muscles contribute to balance and coordination. A strong core helps you maintain stability during movements, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
- Enhanced Athletic Performance: Many athletic activities involve movements that require a strong and stable core. Activities such as running, jumping, lifting, and throwing all benefit from a well-developed core.
- Functional Strength: Core muscles are involved in nearly every movement the body makes. From lifting objects to twisting, reaching, and bending, a strong core provides the foundation for functional strength in daily activities.
- Injury Prevention: A strong core can help prevent injuries by providing stability and support to the spine and pelvis during movements that involve lifting, twisting, or sudden changes in direction.
- Reduced Back Pain: Weak core muscles can contribute to lower back pain. Strengthening the core can help alleviate discomfort and improve spinal alignment and stability.
- Proper Breathing Mechanics: Core muscles assist in breathing by stabilizing the torso and providing a solid foundation for the diaphragm to work effectively. This can improve overall breathing mechanics and lung capacity.
- Better Digestive Health: Core muscles play a role in supporting the digestive organs and maintaining proper intra-abdominal pressure. A strong core can contribute to healthy digestion and gut function.
- Support During Pregnancy: Strong core muscles can help support the changing body during pregnancy and reduce discomfort or pain associated with postural changes.
- Functional Aging: Maintaining a strong core becomes even more important as you age. A strong core can enhance mobility, stability, and overall quality of life as you navigate daily activities and challenges.
- Positive Body Image: Developing a strong core can improve body confidence and body image. Feeling physically capable and strong can have positive psychological effects.
To strengthen your core effectively, focus on a variety of exercises that target different core muscles. This includes not only the superficial abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis) but also the deeper muscles (transverse abdominis), obliques, and muscles of the lower back and hips. Exercises such as planks, bridges, leg raises, Russian twists, and stability ball exercises can be incorporated into your routine to develop a well-rounded and strong core. Always prioritize proper form and consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider if you’re new to core exercises or have any existing health conditions.