I know, I've been remiss. Haven't posted in quite a while, and for those of you that are used to getting these tips in your mailbox, I apologize - I've just been extremely busy over the last few days. Happens sometimes - I'm sure you know the feeling!
Anyway, getting back to training - I wrote a bit about sit-ups and how I consider them to be superior to crunches in my last post. And today, we'll talk a bit more about sit-ups and how there are literally dozens of ways you can make even this simple little exercise much tougher.
For those of you that haven't already got the book, the sit-up that I teach in Fast and Furious Fitness is the "traditional" sit-up - i.e. palms interlocked behind neck, bent knees, and "pulling" yourself up from that position using your abdominal muscles. This one is a great, great exercise - a favorite with many of the old timers, and thats the only version of the movement I show you in the book. And truth be told, if you get good at doing the traditional sit-up, and do them regularly, you really won't need many more pure abdominal exercises.
But, there are ways you can make this exercise more effective - and tougher as well.
One of the ways that I like to do sit-ups is to lie down on my back on the floor with my legs stretched out, and then sit up to a sitting position using my abdominal muscles - but I do so while keeping my legs STRAIGHT. And unlike the traditional situp, my arms are straight as well beside me. The best way to explain the position is to picture a man lying in a coffin, completely still with arms and legs stretched out straight in front of/beside him. That, in a nutshell, is the starting position of this particular movement.
(OK, that description was sort of macabre - but I think it illustrates the position perfectly!)
From this position, you then "situp" to a sitting position using your abdominal muscles WITHOUT moving your legs. You do NOT lock your fingers behind your neck; instead, you allow your arms to come up with you naturally into a sitting position. And again, you use your ABDOMINALS to accomplish this movement - with no assistance from the arms or legs. Lie back down, and repeat for reps. And that, my friend, is one of my favorite alternate ways of performing a sit-up.
Why do I like this method? Well, for one, it eliminates the slight momentum that a lot of people use while performing the traditional sit-up. And while some don't have the form down pat, it's also a fact that the traditional sit-up makes it much harder to eliminate momentum as your muscles tire simply due to the nature of the movement. THIS particular movement though ensures you focus on your abs - and your abs alone - to lift yourself up to a sitting position.
I generally do 50 or so of these during my regular workout - and believe me, my abs are on FIRE after 40-50 consecutive repetitions. In fact, done correctly, this movement will prove to be hard to do for 10 reps if your a beginner - so work into it accordingly.
And while thats one way of making the movement more effective, there are so many more as well. Slight changes in leg postion, speed of the movement, number of reps - all this can make the exercise tougher. Too many to list in this note, but they'd definitely occupy space in any core training book worth the value.
Hmm - that's a thought for the day - maybe I should write a book purely about core training! Maybe I'll do so - but for now, focus on getting better at sit-ups; and you'll be on the way to a much stronger midsection than you currently have in short order.
All for now!
PS: - I speak about Fast and Furious Fitness in this email - that book can be found right HERE.
PS#2: - If you'd like me to do a book focusing purely on core training, shoot me an email and let me know - I'll do it if there's enough interest!