Sit-ups are not an effective way to train the core. Achieving definition in your abdominal area will require fat loss all over your body. Agreed, sit-ups help you build ab muscles but as long as you have that layer of fat on top of your ab muscle, you will never achieve the strong flat abs you are after.
Sit-ups also place a lot of stress on the spine. Which aggravates back and neck issues most people probably already have from slouching or constantly sitting at a desk.
Lastly, sit-ups depend a lot on a person’s body shape. If you have a long torso and short legs, you are going to find sit-ups nearly impossible, even with a strong core.
Now that we have established that sit-ups are not effective in achieving strong flat abs if you have layers of fat in your mid section, here are 5 alternatives to help you build a strong core.
5 alternative exercises to sit up for a strong core
1.Flutter kicks:Lie on your back with legs straight and extend your arms by your sides. Lift your heels about 6 inches and rapidly kick your feet up and down in a quick, scissor-like motion.
2.Russian twist: Hold a medicine ball, dumbbell or weight plate. Lie down on the floor placing your feet either under something that will not move or by having a partner hold them. Your legs should be bent at the knees. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Hold the weight straight out in front of you, keep your back straight and Twist your torso from side to side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out.
3.Plank: Plant the hands directly under the shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up. Ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your glutes to stabilize the body. Neutralize the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands. Your head should be in line with your back. Hold the position for as long as specified.
4.Hanging leg raise: Start by hanging from a pull-up bar with your feet off the floor. Contract your abs and tuck your hips underneath you. Raise your legs up towards the bar without swinging, using only your core strength. As your legs come up, relax your glutes and tense your abs pushing into your armpits and lift them as high as you can. Lower slowly to keep core muscles engaged for max benefits. Repeat.
5.Reverse crunch: Starting Position Lie on the floor or a mat on your back, with knees bent and hands behind head. Place your palms face down on the floor for support. Lift legs and bend knees to 90 degrees. (Like on a tabletop). Tighten your abs to lift your hips off the floor as you crunch your knees inward to your chest. Pause at the top for a moment, then lower back down without allowing your lower back to arch and lose contact with the floor.