To have a flat stomach and the sacrosanct “chocolate bars”, some do not skimp on the series of sit up. What is this exercise and is it really effective for building your abs? We take stock with Vincent Olive, sports coach and physical trainer.
“Sit up” is an English term which refers to the execution of the movement during which one passes from a position lying on the back to a sitting position. This is a movement of great amplitude since we find ourselves at 90 °.
This exercise works in particular on the hip flexor muscles and the tensor muscle of the fascia lata, a muscle of the hip. But it is mainly done to work the abdominal strap . It is also assimilated to the famous “chocolate bars”, in other words to the rectus abdominis muscle, but not necessarily for good reasons!
Sit up: how to perform this exercise?
To perform sit ups, you should lie on your back, then raise your bust by bringing your shoulders to your knees. To achieve this, the feet are flat on the ground and the hands are placed at the level of the temples or ears.
The movement must be carried out slowly and consists of two phases: the concentric phase corresponds to the moment when one raises the shoulders in order to take off the bust, while the eccentric phase corresponds to the moment when one returns to the initial position by unrolling vertebrae by vertebrae quite slowly.
There are two variations of the sit up: you can put your shoulders on the ground, then perform the movement again, or descend as close to the ground as possible without putting your shoulders down. This second option is more demanding and requires more control.
5 mistakes to avoid when doing sit ups
To avoid injuring yourself when performing sit ups, there are several mistakes you should not make:
block his feet . When performing sit ups, the feet may or may not be restrained with the help of a partner. This first option is nevertheless not recommended because it can be the cause of lumbar problems .
improperly position his hands. The hands should be positioned at the level of the temples and ears and not behind the head, so as not to pull on the neck, which is a fragile area. This allows you to concentrate your strength on the abdomen and not on the neck .
do not roll up the bust . When lifting the bust to perform a sit up, it is advisable to roll it up and not to do this movement while keeping the back flat. And for good reason: it favors the work of the hip flexors to the detriment of that of the abdominals.
give a jerk . To raise your bust, do you tend to give a big jerk? Mistake ! This can be the cause of a shock at the visceral level.
do not hold back the descent . During the eccentric phase, it is advisable to retain the descent, because this reinforces the muscular work.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of sit ups?
Sit ups have a huge advantage over other exercises: they can be done anywhere, with no equipment and no space.
Problem: just like crunches , this movement can cause back and visceral problems and goes against the work of the perineum , because it weakens this area. They are therefore not recommended for women and even less for pregnant women. If performed poorly, these exercises can therefore lead to a hernia, abdominal diastasis or even incontinence . There are also risks of injury associated with sit ups and crunches: it is therefore essential not to perform them too often and above all, to perform them correctly.
This is the reason why it is rather advisable, to strengthen your abdominals, to favor polyarticular exercises. In addition, it is essential to keep a balance with the work of the antagonistic muscles of the abdominals such as the lumbar muscles.
Sit up: effective alternatives to muscle the abdominals
There are alternatives to sit ups or crunches to further protect the perineum and back, while strengthening the abdominals:
the sheathing . For this exercise to be effective, it is advisable to vary the postures, focusing on the classic plank, the side plank, the banana or the chair. The idea? Favor positions where you are in isometric muscle contraction.
the pallof press . This exercise allows you to work in resistance using a rubber band . To do this, stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, back straight, and knees slightly bent. With your arms stretched out in front of you, grab the elastic and bring it back to your chest.
the dead bug . This exercise stabilizes the two belts: the shoulder girdle, at the level of the shoulders, and the pelvic girdle at the level of the hips. To do this, lie on your back, raise your legs at 90 ° and place your arms outstretched above the shoulders. Then lower the leg and the opposite arm simultaneously, before returning to the starting position and performing the same movement with the other leg and the other arm.
the bird dog . To achieve this dynamic sheathing , get on all fours, then raise your arm and the opposite leg. Return to the starting position and do the same with the other arm and the other leg.