7 Cures For The Common Situp

Sit-ups, or crunches, are a tried and true exercise for helping to shape and strengthen your mid-section. However, endless sets of sit-ups can be exceedingly boring and really only focus on some of the muscles in the torso. To liven up your exercise routine and get a better-rounded core workout, it is a good idea to add other core strengthening moves.

Having a strong, shapely midsection has many benefits. Apart from the aesthetic appeal of a trim and toned core – the so-called ‘six-pack abs’ – there are also numerous functional benefits. The torso is the foundation for many of the body’s movements. This is true not only while exercising, but also in the functional aspects of day-to-day living. To get the most out of your core workout, try incorporating these 7 alternatives to the common sit-up.

Standing Side Crunch
How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Lift your right leg out to the side while bending your knee 90 degrees.
  • With both hands behind your head, crunch your right elbow to right knee 15 times.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

While sit-ups work the muscles up front, standing side crunches focus on the obliques at the sides of your waist, having a slimming effect. This exercise also improves stabilization and balance since you are standing on one leg. Increase difficulty by pulsing ten to fifteen times before lowering your leg.

Knee Thrust
How to do it:

  • Stand with your right foot and knee slightly forward and hands held at shoulder level.
  • Shift your weight to your right leg, thrusting your left knee up while bending your elbows back.
  • Repeat ten times on the right side and then ten times on the left.

If this is hard to visualize, think of it as a martial arts move. Imagine your hands pulling down someone’s head as you bring your knee up to hit their chin. This exercise works your entire core as you stabilize yourself while shifting from a balanced to unbalanced position. Faster speed increases difficulty.

Figure Eights
How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Move your hips sideways from left to right, drawing a figure eight.
  • Reverse direction and continue alternating, working both directions equally.

This is a belly dancing move that is good for both the internal and external obliques due to the constant hip gyration.

Pelvic Tilt
How to do it:

  • Rest on your hands and knees with your back in a relaxed, neutral position.
  • Tilt your pelvis toward your stomach.
  • Exhale and draw in your abdominal muscles tightly.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.

This works the same muscles as a sit-up. However, by focusing on form, it is possible to work the deeper abdominal muscles that are often missed due to improper form while struggling to do sit-ups.

Bird Dog
How to do it:

  • Rest on your hands and knees with your back in a relaxed, neutral position. Tighten your abs.
  • Keeping your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor, extend your right leg back and left arm forward in a smooth, controlled motion.
  • In a controlled motion, return your hand and knee to the starting position.
  • Alternate sides and repeat 5 times on each side.

This exercise focuses on the posterior core – the abdominals, lower back, glutes and thighs. It also trains the body to stabilize the lower back while moving both your arms and legs. This is of great benefit during many exercises and day-to-day tasks, helping to prevent back injury.

Floor Wipers
How to do it:

  • Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides. Press your hands firmly into the floor.
  • Lift your feet and legs straight up to the ceiling.
  • With a smooth, controlled motion, lower your legs all the way to the floor on the right.
  • Engaging your abs, move your legs back up to the top and then over to the floor on the left.
  • Repeat to touch each side five times.

This move challenges your entire torso and the lower back. It is more intense than sit-ups since you are moving a much bigger load with the weight of both legs at the same time.

Single Leg Kicks
How to do it:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back and support yourself on your elbows.
  • Using your stomach muscles, raise one toe to the ceiling and then come back down to tap the floor.
  • Repeat using the other leg while keeping your abdominal muscles tight.
  • Continue alternating leg kicks for 30 to 60 seconds.

This exercise works a variety of your lower core muscles. Pelvic muscles, hip flexors, abs and obliques all come into play. It also helps improve balance. Increase difficulty by holding your arms out in front of you.

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