The Good Old Fashioned Sit-Up

July 30, 2011

No matter what your goals are in the gym, having "six pack abs" has always been one of most desirable attributes an active person can possess. Everywhere you look - on billboards, in magazine advertisements, movies and commercials, the six pack is front and center. Bottom line: No one wants a flabby mid-section.

Diet's a big part of any effort to develop the abdominal region, because the subcutaneous fat on top of your abs has to be eliminated for the definition to show through. Of course, dieting by itself isn't going to get you there. Achieving the look takes hard work employing the right exercises to thicken and define the muscles in question.

You've seen people at the gym banging out sets of crunches. It's one of the most widely used exercises for abdominal development. But if you're really serious about building an impressive six-pack, I recommend old school sit-ups. The crunch isolates your upper abdominals through a very short range of motion where sit ups involve the entire abdominal region including the oblique and intercostal muscles.

Now the sit-up can put strain on your lower back muscles if performed incorrectly, but by modifying this exercise, it can be one of the most effective abdominal exercises. For maximum benefit, don't do sit ups laying flat on the floor. Instead, use an adjustable incline bench and set the angle at about 45 degrees. Keep your knees bent and only go back about three quarters of the way before returning to the top position.

This modified range of motion will keep all the tension on your abs without straining the lower back. Check it out on your next trip to the gym. Your abs will get a tremendous workout that crunches alone cannot provide.

Natural Mr. Olympia
John Hansen