Beginner Sit-up Advice

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  1. #1
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    Arrow Beginner Sit-up Advice

    I Am a complete beginner when it comes to fitness training, I am weak, and I fully admit I am. I seek to change this, as I am looking to join the armed forces. A requirement to british armed forces is a reasonable level of physical fitness before application is considered. Running, press-ups etc etc I am fine with, I'm actually surprised with my level of fitness when running to be honest (I half expected myself to puke my guts up after the first few metres, but I managed 1/2km before getting to tired to continue).

    A problem I am having is sit-ups, I looked at a video on youtube that showed how to do sit-ups correctly (site won't let me post youtube link so imagine one here). The problem I am having is I cannot even manage a single full sit-up. I am not feeling my abdominals getting anykind of workout, the strain I feel is on the lower back and side muscles(?). Will this improve? Will I eventually be able to complete a full situp by at least trying? I'm not getting far, this guy on the video is reaching his knees with his elbows, I get less than a inch off the ground. I am not fat, i'm actually quite thin so fat isn't stopping me from getting that far. Any help here would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I'm very much against sit ups as they are a terrible exercise for people's lower back. Most of the time your hip flexors tend to be stronger and fire before your abdominals/obliques which actually pulls your lumbar spine into extension while producing a shearing force on your vertebral bodies/intervertebral discs. If you must do them to pass that stupid test, I'd suggest strengthening your abs with crunches and learning how to properly perform sit ups. I don't know how you perform them, but should begin by having you hips and knees flexed to about 90 degrees. Keep your arms straight and pointed towards your feet (this will shift the center of gravity and make the exercise a bit easier). The movement needs to begin by engaging your abs and bringing the rib cage towards the pelvis, then concentrate on bringing the rest of your body up into the full sit up position while squeezing your abdominals/obliques the whole time.

    Start out by doing crunches a bunch of times a day to build abdominal strength so your hip flexors don't overpower your abs during sit ups, 4 sets of 10-20 or however much you can manage 2 times per day. Concentrate on firing and squeezing your abs during this movement. After 2-4 weeks depending on how you progress with the crunches, you can start to perform the sit ups with the above rules of initiating the movement by squeezing your abs/obliques (bringing ribs to pelvis) and finishing by flexing the hips all the while squeezing your abs.

    One other thing you can work on is stretching your hip flexors. I like dynamic stretches as seen here. Doing them all can't hurt but concentrate on getting #'s 1, 3, 4, 6. There are also static hip flexor stretches that you can do, I don't have a link for that but a google/youtube search will give you more than enough ideas.

    So in summary, stop doing sit ups for now. Crunches 4 sets of 10-20 reps 2 times per day for 2-4 weeks, and stretching of the hip flexors 1-2 times per day. Begin doing sit ups on week 3'ish concentrating on initiating the movement with the abs and squeezing them throughout the whole movement. Hope this helps. EDIT: To progress with sit ups, start doing them with your arms straight and pointed toward your feet, then you can cross them on your chest and finally you can progress to fingers tips slightly touching your ears (never clasp your hands behind your head/neck).
    "The greatest obstacle to knowledge is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge." -Barry Marshall, Nobel Laureate

  3. #3
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    I was just going to say that my best sit-up advice is to not do them...Ever.
    If sense were common, everyone would have it.

    4/2007-Current 75th Ranked most popular image 1 spot behind Prince's bulge...

    Check out my world famous Bob Loblaw's Law Blog at http://www.synergyhw.blogspot.com/...Just kidding, it's a health and wellness blog.

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    I like doing get ups.

    patrick





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