Exercise! - What's the best way to do a sit-up?

01-25-2007, 10:47 AM
Without injuring the back. I currently do 2 sets a day of 90 each. My knees are bent. I switch around between hands behind my neck and arms straight out to the side. This lets me do more. Is it silly to want to do more? Should I just do less and do them all with my hands behind my neck? Any input would greatly appreciated. Thanks.

01-25-2007, 11:06 AM
Robin, congrats on doing all those sit-ups! :cp: You're going to have abs of steel when you reach goal! :D

OK, the best way to protect your back is not to do traditional situps at all. Do crunches instead:

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and back flat against the ground. Cross your arms over your chest (this makes your abs do all the work - when you put your hands behind your head, you're hauling your neck up with your arms, not your abs). Crunch up s-l-o-w-l-y while exhaling and sucking your belly button into your spine. Really squeeze your abs. Hold and come down s-l-o-w-l-y. Try going up for a count of 6, holding for 2, and down for 6. It's a small and controlled movement, but if done correctly by contracting your abs muscles, you can really feel it.

This video shows the correct range of motion, but please ignore her having her hands behind her head! Crunches (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/health/fitness/exercises/crunches.html)

The way to progress crunches after they become easy is to change your leg position. Try knees up - same technique - and then legs straight up in the air, ankles crossed. :)

The Washington Post (the link I posted above) has lots of other videos for different ab exercises that you can do at home. Core Exercises (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/health/fitness/exercises/core_index.html) Just click on the name of the exercise you want to see. :)

01-25-2007, 11:47 AM
Also, shouldn't you work your abs every other day instead of every day? I know lots of people do abs every day, but I've always heard you should treat them like any other muscle group and give them a rest day between, because that's when the muscle fibers do their work (or whatever happens in there...)

01-25-2007, 11:54 AM
Meg, thank you so much. I'm gonna get mushy here, but I can't help it. I feel so fortunate to "know" you. You have helped me so much I can't begin to tell you.

Okay, so I will DEFINITELY try that. I'm supposing I will be doing A LOT less sit ups now, but that's okay. I thought I was always using just my stomach muscles to pull me up and now I guess I'll see if I really and truly was.

This is going to sound crazy, but I started out with the sit ups from day one of my lifestyle change. I figured it was an exercise that I could do lying down. :D By the way, I doubt if I will ever actually SEE those abs, they'll be buried under all the excess skin. But I figure it's muscle nevertheless and that's a good thing. Thank you again!!!!

01-25-2007, 11:57 AM
LisaMarie, you posted while I was. I'm going to let Meg hopefully answer that one. I'm curious to see what she has to say. I just figured it's something that I CAN do everyday, so therefore I DO.

01-25-2007, 11:57 AM
Psst, Robin ... go look at my 'after' photo from May, 2002. I have tons of excess skin but you can still see some abs. The skin's just tucked into my shorts. Don't count out abs yet! :D

01-25-2007, 12:07 PM
LisaMarie's right - you should give any muscle you work a day off between workouts. When you work a muscle, you create microscopic tears in the muscle that - when they heal - grow back stronger. That's how muscles grow and get stronger. If you don't give them adequate rest time, the micro-tears become micro-scars and you don't want that!

That's why many people split up their workouts into different muscle groups on different days (called a 'split'). You can still do something every day, but you aren't working the same muscles on back-to-back days.

01-25-2007, 12:31 PM
Oh my goodness, I've been doing them EVERYDAY, With the exception of I don't know 10 days in a 4 month period. Ooops! I will definitely be rectifying that. I hope I haven't caused too much damage. :(

And by the way, I don't won't to be the one to break the news to you - BUT YOU HAVE NO EXCESS SKIN SHOWING ANYWHERE!!!!!! Tucking into shorts in 100% permissible. Not that there looked like there was anything extra in there either. ;)

01-27-2007, 10:23 AM
Okay, so now I've done the sit-ups Meg's way and like I imagined I only did about 65 of them. But that's okay, since they're more effective. I will do another set later and then I will skip a day. Thanks Meg and LisaMarie. :smug: