This exercise may not be suitable for pregnant women or those suffering from lower back problems. If you are unsure about your ability to try this exercise you should consult your GP prior to commencing.
If you are performing this exercise on a hard floor I recommend you use a yoga or exercise mat. Lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet hip width apart, keep your feet flat on the floor. Your hips and shoulders should be in contact with the floor and your back should retain its natural curve. Keep a gap between your chin and your chest so your breathing isn’t restricted, I try to imagine I’m holding a tennis ball under my chin. You now have a stable base to begin your sit up.
Place your hands by your side or resting on your thighs, as your fitness improves you can cross your hands over your chest or place your hands to your temple. Do not place your hands on the back of your neck and pull your head, this will only cause injury to your neck.
Exhale as you pull yourself upwards towards your knees. This will cause your muscles to suck inward and will make your deeper core muscles work. Do not inhale as you pull up. Inhaling while executing a sit-up can cause your abdomen to protrude which not only makes the exercise less effective but can also put strain on your lower back.
Lower yourself so that your head and upper back are just touching the floor. Do not return to the resting position, instead keep your abdominal muscles taut and repeat the movement.
Repeat 10-12 times, rest for 30 seconds and complete 3 sets.
If this exercise is performed correctly it will help define abdominal muscles. While aerobic exercise burns tummy fat, sit-ups assist in strengthening and toning underlying core muscles.