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  1. #1
    Registered User BELLC's Avatar
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    Doing Situps - Knees up or Legs Straight?

    Back in the day ...

    I remember back in grade school and high school, situps were always done with the legs straight, knees locked and someone sitting on my ankles. The coach insisted that anything else was a "girl situp" and not for "real men".

    He said the samething about the knees on the floor for pushups as well.

    He wasn't my favorite person.

    But now, pushing 50, I see few people doing crunches with the legs straight although I will see an occasional old-timer doing situps on those boards that elevate with his legs fully extended.

    So which is really the best way to do situps for gut reduction and to minimize potential back/neck injury?
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  2. #2
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BELLC View Post
    Back in the day ...

    I remember back in grade school and high school, situps were always done with the legs straight, knees locked and someone sitting on my ankles. The coach insisted that anything else was a "girl situp" and not for "real men".

    He said the samething about the knees on the floor for pushups as well.

    He wasn't my favorite person.

    But now, pushing 50, I see few people doing crunches with the legs straight although I will see an occasional old-timer doing situps on those boards that elevate with his legs fully extended.

    So which is really the best way to do situps for gut reduction and to minimize potential back/neck injury?
    Neither of them are terribly good for strengthening the abdominal wall, but bent knee will hit the abs slightly more than straight legs which will give you bulging hip flexors...if that's your sort of thing.
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  3. #3
    Registered User EnigmaPower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BELLC View Post
    Back in the day ...

    I remember back in grade school and high school, situps were always done with the legs straight, knees locked and someone sitting on my ankles. The coach insisted that anything else was a "girl situp" and not for "real men".

    He said the samething about the knees on the floor for pushups as well.

    He wasn't my favorite person.

    But now, pushing 50, I see few people doing crunches with the legs straight although I will see an occasional old-timer doing situps on those boards that elevate with his legs fully extended.

    So which is really the best way to do situps for gut reduction and to minimize potential back/neck injury?
    First off you can't spot reduce. If you want to reduce your gut you need to drop fat over your entire body. Second, a situp with straight legs uses the iliopsoas more than the abdominals. The iliopsoas runs underneath the obliques and attaches to the vertabre in your lower back and that is why situps with legs straight or elevated cause back trouble in alot of people. What is better is a situp with the iliopsoas taken out of the movement. That is easily accomplished by using the principle of antagonistic muscles and the method developed by Vladamir Janda called the Janda situp. Just have a partner place his hands behind your hamstrings while your knees are bent, tense your glutes (the iliopsoas antagonist) and your hams then do a situp. If alone place your hams over a bar and do the situp as described above. You are taking the iliopsoas out of the situp and fully isolating your abdominals.
    Last edited by EnigmaPower; 12-23-2008 at 09:39 AM.
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  4. #4
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Jandas are awesome. You can get a tool that mimics using a partner for them. I don't remember what it's called...I've never used one, but Pavel Tsatsouline (for one) sells them.
    Vikings
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  5. #5
    Registered User EnigmaPower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Marius_Ursus View Post
    Jandas are awesome. You can get a tool that mimics using a partner for them. I don't remember what it's called...I've never used one, but Pavel Tsatsouline (for one) sells them.
    Any low bar will do fine. To me, Pavel is a step above Fat Furey (a small step).

    ETA - Interestingly enough, excercises for the gluteus maximus generally do alleviate back pain. Less for the gluteus medius and minimus.
    Last edited by EnigmaPower; 12-23-2008 at 09:38 AM.
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  6. #6
    Kettlebear Marius_Ursus's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnigmaPower View Post
    Any low bar will do fine. To me, Pavel is a step above Fat Furey (a small step).
    Negged.





































































    Just kidding.
    Vikings
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  7. #7
    Registered User BELLC's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnigmaPower View Post
    First off you can't spot reduce. If you want to reduce your gut you need to drop fat over your entire body... What is better is a situp with the iliopsoas taken out of the movement....You are taking the iliopsoas out of the situp and fully isolating your abdominals.
    I currently try to do full body exercises but like many over 40 have difficulty in the abs area. Must be loss of testosterone.

    I looked at the video clip here for Janda
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/vide...jandasitup.mpg

    and realized mine are actually similar to that with slightly elevated knees and slightly elevated feet. I also do not usually put my hands behind my head so maybe I'm closer than I think.

    I've also always heard many people don't do abs exercises at all, believing whole body exercises will offset the need for abs-specific ones.
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  8. #8
    Registered User gbg's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EnigmaPower View Post
    First off you can't spot reduce. If you want to reduce your gut you need to drop fat over your entire body. Second, a situp with straight legs uses the iliopsoas more than the abdominals. The iliopsoas runs underneath the obliques and attaches to the vertabre in your lower back and that is why situps with legs straight or elevated cause back trouble in alot of people. What is better is a situp with the iliopsoas taken out of the movement. That is easily accomplished by using the principle of antagonistic muscles and the method developed by Vladamir Janda called the Janda situp. Just have a partner place his hands behind your hamstrings while your knees are bent, tense your glutes (the iliopsoas antagonist) and your hams then do a situp. If alone place your hams over a bar and do the situp as described above. You are taking the iliopsoas out of the situp and fully isolating your abdominals.
    Excellent post!
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  9. #9
    We make PROGRESS happen! Bronzebird's Avatar
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    When I do leg ups and side knee bends hanging or on the dip stand. I bring the straight legs up to eye level, this forces the abdominal wall to contract and rounds the back. And does strengthen the hip flexors. Which is excellent for power in Crescent or Front kicks. (martial arts)
    Side knee bends can be done in the constant contracted state. Knees as high as possible and rotate hips in stead of "swing knees around". This causes a leaning back effect if you raise them high enough. So the flexors, obliques, and abbs will BURN!
    If you do not feel any lactic acid burn in the target areas (intensity) you are not going to grow any definition. All in good time with a full body workout will the body fat come down show abs with a strict diet. So hit it hard and enjoy the DOMS.
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