100 lb. Club - Sit-ups Question

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05-05-2008, 10:29 PM
This will prob sound strange, but is doing situps at a high weight still good for you? Someone once told me that the muscles will become hard, making it harder to lose weight. Almost like it will make my stomach stay the size it is bc the muscles will harden at this size. Tell me your thoughts....

05-05-2008, 10:39 PM
I did sit ups since day one of my journey. Day one. At 287 lbs. I figured it was exercise that I could do laying down and therefore it was something that just might be for me. ;)

Ummm, all I can say is that I'm pretty certain it didn't make my losing weight any more difficult. And this I can tell you for sure - my stomach is NOT the same size it was when I started. Not even close. Not sure where your someone got his info from. But for me, nothing could be further from the truth.

05-05-2008, 10:54 PM
Strengthening your core muscles with sit-ups (or Pilates or machines at the gym or whatever) is *good* for your weight loss because it helps stabilize your body while you do other exercises. Whoever told you that was mistaken; sit-ups are perfectly fine.

05-05-2008, 10:56 PM
I don't think I could do a sit up. It is soooo difficult! My back arches off the floor too much and I have heard that is dangerous. I am an "apple" shape, I don't know if that makes it harder than for "pears". I try to focus more on crunches- little tiny movements. It feels safer anyway. I also try reverse crunches- lifting the knees toward chest, then tapping the floor with your feet. Pilates says small, isolated movements are very effective.

Urban Explorer
05-06-2008, 12:17 AM
I do not do sit ups, but I have been doing crunches at the recomendation of my Physical Therapist.

05-06-2008, 01:20 AM
Is there a "right" and "wrong" way to do crunches/sit-ups? I have been doing crunches on my bed because laying on the floor hurts my back.

05-06-2008, 01:30 AM
From what I've read, full sit-ups are not generally recommended any more because of the strain on the back and neck. Crunches are more universally accepted, although the variety and range of abdominal exercises makes crunches a bit outdated - at least from what my strength training instructor says.

I'm guessing that the OP may have heard some discussion about spot reduction. Some exercise regimens promise to spot reduce the stomach by doing strength training exercise there, and this is not an effective strategy, as your body's weight distribution is determined by factors outside our control. Burning calories by doing abdominal strength training will cause you to lose fat from your entire body. However, it will also build the abdominal muscles. If you are losing fat from your hips but not much from your stomach, theoretically, enlarging abdominal muscles might make your stomach appear bigger until your fat loss catches up there, or so say those that say. I think, at least for women, this is hogwash. How many women do you know with bulging abdominal muscles? For the most fit women, they seem to be well-defined, but not bulging.

And Lynn - have you tried an exercise ball? I had a friend with a bad back who used his as an office desk chair, and he swore by it. Maybe you should ask your doctor if an exercise ball would be a good way to strengthen your core muscles without risking further injury.

05-06-2008, 02:05 AM
Thanks, I've actually been thinking about an exercise ball. I will check into that!

05-06-2008, 08:24 AM
LaurieDawn said it best, there's hardly a chance that you will build bulging abdominal muscles - rather, if you start training your abs now, there will be a nice tight tummy waiting to emerge once the fat melts away from that area. At least that's what I'M telling myself as I reluctantly shlep myself through my ab exercises... ;)

One piece of advice I keep hearing is to not overexercise the obliques (side abdominal muscles) as they might bulk up your waist, but I imagine that if that is the case it would take professional-grade effort to get to that point, so I'm really not worried about that... heh...

And oh, yeah: an enthusiastic Yay! for the exercise ball. I always had a hard time with crunches because my back and neck would hurt long before my ab muscles because my core was so weak. With the exercise ball I'm up to 100-150 now, both straight and to the side, and the only pain/burn I feel is where it should be - in my abs. The ball is so great for a lot of other exercises, too - I love doing other ab exercises and push-ups (another exercise I usually could do without) with it. Crunches will never be my favorite, and I don't ever do sit-ups, so I'm glad that there are a lot of good alternative moves out there. At the moment I'm working on holding a plank for more than 30 seconds... :dizzy:

05-06-2008, 08:49 AM
So love the yoga, Heffalump. My Achilles' heel is the side plank, though. Fortunately - my Warrior 3 rocks! :p

05-06-2008, 09:02 AM
Gah, don't get me started on side planks - for me it's not so much holding a position as shaking like a leaf after, what, four seconds? Also, is cursing under my breath while doing so considered pranayama? :D

I so rock the shoulder stand, though... :lol:

05-06-2008, 12:07 PM
Ha! You people are doing planks?? Wow! I saw them in my fitness books and thought, "yeah RIGHT, can you imagine?? Take that picture of me at 278 and tilt it sideways with one arm out... um, no, not going to happen." But maybe someday when I am all skinny and buff like you guys :)

05-06-2008, 12:23 PM
There are different versions of planks and I've done many different variants, from my highest weight on down. Side planks are killer but front planks (pushup position basically) aren't bad at all (until you try to hold them for a looong time).

As for situps, I've done crunches but never situps due to well I can't do them and because I've heard they are bad for your back.

05-06-2008, 12:39 PM
Planks. *sigh* :) The whole shaking like a leaf thing after a few seconds? Yeah. That's me. I can hold a straight plank reasonably well but a side plank? *thud* I'm working on it.

As far as your muscles "hardening" because you're bigger ... I've never heard that before, but I gotta say whoever told you that is feeding you some line. Muscles don't "harden" from exercise. They become stronger, and more firm, but "hardening" in the sense of making you fat? Nope. Not gonna happen.

The more you develop your muscles - in any way - the more you boost your metabolism and the easier you make it to lose weight and keep it off. Crunches, planks, leg lifts, etc. are all good core exercises that will help strengthen your center and make you stronger.


05-06-2008, 04:34 PM
I asked this question back in early 2007 over in the exericse forum -

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

This is the response I got from Meg and I've been doing it that way ever since:


05-06-2008, 04:42 PM
see now I knew I'd read up that 'traditional' sit ups weren't the best for the body; however these are what's required for entry into the British Army. 44 of them in 2 minutes to be exact:tantrum:

05-06-2008, 05:03 PM
ooo just the info I was looking for! Thanks!

I tried to do a sit up and it just wasn't gonna happen. I have a sore neck/back problems sometimes and even trying was putting alot of strain on my neck. And it feels like my tailbone has no padding at all lol it hurts so so bad. I saw in a video online a woman said to fold a towel or small pillow up under you.

Anyways I am gonna try to do it the way Meg said!

05-06-2008, 05:23 PM
Wow, Robin! I loved reading that thread. You were so much greener - so much more tentative - than you are now. And I want to see a picture of your glorious ab muscles! I loved that even then, your response wasn't, "I'll never see my abs because I have too much weight to lose," but "I'll have too much loose skin." Green, yes, but still the same "I will do it!" Robin!

05-06-2008, 05:24 PM
Her explanation is of crunches versus sit ups and unfortunately the link she provided doesn't seem to work?

From what I know of the range of motion for crunches is that you should lift your shoulders off the ground but go no further.

You can also do it on the ball and I've seen some version of 'sit ups' on the ball that look like more traditional sit ups but the ball ends up protecting your back.

05-06-2008, 05:32 PM
I just went and updated the post with new links. :)

The Washington Post web site has a ton of video demonstrations of almost exercise you can think of. It's a good site to bookmark. Click on the tabs across the top for different muscle groups and exercise levels. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/health/fitness/exercises/

05-06-2008, 06:16 PM
Dude! That is so way cool! Thanks for the link.