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  1. #1
    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Help with Sit ups?

    I recently joined the Army National Guard, and started working on my sit ups a lot because thats a huge weakness for me. I am 5'8 145 pounds, not someone who is overweight or even close to it. I consider my self to be in good shape and health.

    So ive been doing situps for just over a week now, hoping to start seeing the smallest improvement and honestly im not seeing anything and its becoming very frustrating. Most of the time I can not do more than 10 sit ups at a time, I have to stop after 10 a rest for a while. I have tried to do a few without having my feet under something and I can not even come close. Its like I feel like my brain isint sending the right signals because I Have no idea how to sit up without my feet being held down. WITH my feet being held down ive also tried to do situps very slowly to actually feel my abs working and I can not do that either. The only way I can do a situp it seems is when I throw my body up as hard as I can. Even when I was at the gym last night I put my feet under 35 pound dumbells to hold them down but a lot of the time while trying to sit up my feet would be pulling the weights off the ground.

    Do ANYBODY have explinations or tips that could maybe help me? This is one of the most frustrating things ive ever delt with. I dont feel like im somebody who is overweight of out of shape...

    Any advice would be very helpful
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  2. #2
    Registered User fightingfalcn91's Avatar
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    Just remember your abs won't show by doing sit ups. Everyone has a 6 pack but most have a good ol chunk of fat covering them up. Grab an ab bench, throw your feet under the rollers and lock em in so ya don't move. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! If you just can't do em, then I'd do crunches. Grab a Pilates ball and use that to do your crunches. The more you work the core the stronger it will get. Eventually you'll be able to do your sit ups with no prob.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fightingfalcn91 View Post
    Just remember your abs won't show by doing sit ups. Everyone has a 6 pack but most have a good ol chunk of fat covering them up. Grab an ab bench, throw your feet under the rollers and lock em in so ya don't move. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! If you just can't do em, then I'd do crunches. Grab a Pilates ball and use that to do your crunches. The more you work the core the stronger it will get. Eventually you'll be able to do your sit ups with no prob.
    Yeah im not worried about them showing at all, I could care less. Im just worrying about being able to do the required 50 something in 2 minutes to pass the APFT. Right now it just seems impossible with only being able to do 10 at a time. Even on the incline sit ups I try to do them slowly but cant, the only way I can get up is to throw my self up and I dont feel like im working my core out that way.
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    Registered User fightingfalcn91's Avatar
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    You could give Planks a try.. I do those at the very end of an ab workout for as long as I can. Those would be a good way to build up your core.. IMO the last thing you want to do is "throw yourself" That sounds like it kinda hurts. Give the crunches, Pilates ball a try for a week.. See if that helps at all.
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    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Yeah I've been doing 2-3 planks at the end of my workouts for a minute each. Another thing with the abs, the day after doing sit ups should I be feeling sore undery naval? I'm never sore where the actual abs are, it's always in my lower stomach area under my belly button
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  6. #6
    Registered User fightingfalcn91's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    Yeah I've been doing 2-3 planks at the end of my workouts for a minute each. Another thing with the abs, the day after doing sit ups should I be feeling sore undery naval? I'm never sore where the actual abs are, it's always in my lower stomach area under my belly button
    Well your naval is part of your midsection (abs) so I'd say that's completely normal. Could also be that those muscles aren't stretched enough when you work that area.. Upward Dog is a good stretch to do before knockin out the abs. One step at a time Carolina You'll get there
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    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fightingfalcn91 View Post
    Well your naval is part of your midsection (abs) so I'd say that's completely normal. Could also be that those muscles aren't stretched enough when you work that area.. Upward Dog is a good stretch to do before knockin out the abs. One step at a time Carolina You'll get there
    I hope so man, I appreciate all your info. I always though abs were nothing and I would be able to crank them out like nothing but I found out real quick that I flat out suck at them.
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  8. #8
    Registered User fightingfalcn91's Avatar
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    No prob! Abs are pretty boring actually Make sure ya let us know how it's going!!
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    No Pain No Gain GymMeathead's Avatar
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    Throw in V-ups, Ab leg raises, Ab leg extentions, Ab bicycle, and the Ab roller. Try to focus on your stomach and really squeeze. I feel like the reason your throwing yourself up is because your not focusing on your stomach, instead your more worried about the motion. Try a lot of crunchs too. And don't stop at 10 reps, go to failure, go until you physically cant go anymore, then rest until you catch your breath and do it again.

    Hope this helps a little. Good luck. You'll be able to get 50 in no time, just keep at it.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GymMeathead View Post
    Throw in V-ups, Ab leg raises, Ab leg extentions, Ab bicycle, and the Ab roller. Try to focus on your stomach and really squeeze. I feel like the reason your throwing yourself up is because your not focusing on your stomach, instead your more worried about the motion. Try a lot of crunchs too. And don't stop at 10 reps, go to failure, go until you physically cant go anymore, then rest until you catch your breath and do it again.

    Hope this helps a little. Good luck. You'll be able to get 50 in no time, just keep at it.
    Yeah that makes sense, that's why I tried to slow things down and do a few slow sit ups trying to really focus on my abs but right now it just isint possible at all.
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  11. #11
    No Pain No Gain GymMeathead's Avatar
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    Try holding positions. Do a sit up half way and just hold it there. That could help you realize which area to really squeeze. Just don't give up, you got it, once you get the form you'll be good.
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    Registered User ClevageGobbler's Avatar
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    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newswee...on-t-work.html

    this article makes me wonder if this doctor is right
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    I am 5'8 145 pounds, not someone who is overweight or even close to it. I consider my self to be in good shape and health.
    Why? There's more to shape/health than not being overweight.

    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    So ive been doing situps for just over a week now, hoping to start seeing the smallest improvement and honestly im not seeing anything and its becoming very frustrating. Most of the time I can not do more than 10 sit ups at a time, I have to stop after 10 a rest for a while.
    I guess keep at it, or throw in some other ab movements that feel better.

    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    I have tried to do a few without having my feet under something and I can not even come close. Its like I feel like my brain isint sending the right signals because I Have no idea how to sit up without my feet being held down.
    It's a matter of balance. If the part you're trying to lift is heavier than the part you're trying to keep down, anchoring the feet is necessary to add the weight of that to your legs to keep them down. There's nothing at all wrong with this.

    The reason we don't need to hold our feet down for crunches is because we're lifting just our upper bodies and keeping the lower back and pelvis and legs on the ground, which weigh more than the rib cage + head + arns. Yet even with crunches, if you are using a huge amount of weight/leverage and shifting your center of balance, you'd also need to anchor your feet.

    The reason we more often must anchor our feet with situps is because we're lifting our lower backs off the ground, and rotating the pelvis up. This increases the amount of weight being lifted. Most people's legs combined will weigh less than the weight of the rest of their body, so anchoring the feet is required to make it a situp. Otherwise, the contraction of the hip flexors involved in situps would lift the legs instead, or both at the same time (like a V-up).

    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    WITH my feet being held down ive also tried to do situps very slowly to actually feel my abs working and I can not do that either. The only way I can do a situp it seems is when I throw my body up as hard as I can.
    This is understandable. You are generating momentum with an explosive ab movement, and this creates less work for your hip flexors to do to rotate the pelvis forward. Grinding sit-ups up is more difficult and requires stronger hip flexors.

    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    Even when I was at the gym last night I put my feet under 35 pound dumbells to hold them down but a lot of the time while trying to sit up my feet would be pulling the weights off the ground.
    Let me guess: your hips/knees were bent? You probably won't have this issue if you have your feet under dumbbells with straight legs. Again it's a matter of leverage and balance. When the legs are bent, this shifts centre of mass superior.

    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    Do ANYBODY have explinations or tips that could maybe help me? This is one of the most frustrating things ive ever delt with. I dont feel like im somebody who is overweight of out of shape...Any advice would be very helpful
    Are you doing leg lifts? This will help to focus on hip flexor strength so that you're able to grind up your situps. Stuff like v-ups are an advanced thing, I don't see the point of them until after mastering basic crunch/leg raise/situp.

    For variety, you could also try hanging leg raises. Leg raises can also be done on the decline bench (though your torso would be inclined in this case).

    Beyond that, training crunches is also good, by keeping the lower back planted and not rotating the pelvis, it will allow you to feel your abs. You will not be able to get as high because fewer joints are moving, but that's fine, and you will be able to feel the abs.

    Crunches don't build sit-ups though. The abs stabilize during the movement, and can cheat people into sit-ups (via the explosive crunch start) but ultimately it's a hip flexor movement.

    Originally Posted by ClevageGobbler View Post
    Stop Doing Sit-Ups: Why Crunches Don't Work

    this article makes me wonder if this doctor is right
    Why should we listen to this woman's 2009 article? She uses the term 'crunch' and 'situp' as if they were synonyms. This says to me that she is ignorant.

    Originally Posted by Dr. Richard Guyer, president of the Texas Back Institute
    We stopped teaching people to do crunches a long, long time ago, that’s because the “full flex” movement—the actual “crunch” part of crunches – puts an unhealthy strain on your back at its weakest point. The section with the most nerves (and most potential for nerve damage) is in the back of the spine, which is the very part that bends and strains during a sit-up
    Guyer also has the same problem. Crunch != situp.

    Originally Posted by Stuart M. McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo.
    There are only so many bends or a ‘fatigue life’, in your spinal disks. Inside each disk is a mucus-like nucleus, if you keep flexing your spine and bending the disk over and over again, that nucleus slowly breaches the layers and causes a disk bulge, or a disk herniation.
    McGill parrots this crap on T-nation all the time yet hasn't supported his theory. I've read the paper he's based these claims on, and they were done on cadavers. That means they don't take into process the healing processes that a living human body has to cope with day to day wear on the joints.

    So basically: this is BS. You might as well listen to a yogi's claim that we have a fixed number of breaths before we die, so we should limit the amount of breaths we take by taking long deep ones instead of panting. Unproven mystical pseudoscience.

    Originally Posted by celebrity trainer Steve Maresca
    They look great from the front, but when they turn to the side, their stomachs are extended. To get the long, lean look, one needs to work transverse abdominius, a large muscle that holds in those rectus abs, and is mainly unchallenged by traditional ab work (aka, the sit-up and crunches).
    This is false. The TA contracts during crunching movements to allow the abs a more efficient line of pull. It also contracts during situps to keep the spine braced and prevent extension. People may have bad TA activation while training these moves, but that's a fault of motor activation and not the movements, which benefit from the TA. Only extreme hyper-flexion of the spine (usually achieved by the explosive momentum-crunches) would turn it off.

    Originally Posted by McGill, author of "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance" (Stuart McGill, 2004).
    Doing a sit-up doesn’t train your ab muscles to do the job for which they were designed – keeping your spine straight and secure and providing power for your movements. In everyday life, the abdominals are braces.
    Yay, more McGill BS. This is more of the crap spewed on his T-nation articles. That the abs are "designed" and that a muscle can only have 1 purpose. While it's true that abs secure the spine and keep it straight so far as preventing extension and translating power, to say that's all the abs can or should do is pure poppycock. Braced-ab movements are great, but the abs are clearly also for controlling the spine in movement, whether it be concentric or eccentric.

    What all these "train your core isometric only" folks seem to be missing here is that if this were all the spine were for, it'd likely be solid bone. That we have vertebrae and muscles to control them clearly illustrates our core is supposed to move, just not to excess.
    Last edited by Tyciol; 02-01-2012 at 01:38 AM.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    I have been following the 200 sit up program and today my sets were 7,9,6,6 then max.

    Should be easy right since ive got all the other days without a problem, NO. I struggled to get the first 7, then after rested I went for 9 and only got 4. I just dont understand it and its becoming very very frustrating.
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    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    The only way I can do a situp it seems is when I throw my body up as hard as I can.
    Exercising is not about performing movements any way that you can, it's about moving muscles through their range of motion. Sit-Ups can be dangerous because it's easy to hurt your neck with bad form. The more volume you do, the greater the chance of injury. If you don't know how to feel your abs, you should work on that. Each muscle both extends and contracts. So to stand up and lean back would extend your abs, and to stand and bend at the waist until your navel is at your waist would contract your abs.

    The 200 sit-ups program you mentioned is made through patterns, and sometimes those patterns scale disproportionately to your progress, and so you must tweak their program to fit you.

    I recommend trying knee raises (eventually leg raises) on parallel bars or from a pull-up bar instead of sit-ups. Another move to work on is the L-Sit. Here's a site that shows progression http://www.drillsandskills.com/article/15. It's an isometric ab hold.
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    You shouldn't be 'throwing' yourself up. thats asking for a injury. Sit up's are one of those exercises where you can injure yourself if you do them incorrectly or stupidly. anyway the goal is to train your abs, so make sure you 'curl' your body into a sit up. Bruce Lee would describe it like curling up a newspaper. that way your abs get worked. many people I have seen doing sit ups try to keep their torso straight and pivot from their hips. If you wanna work mostly your hip flexors i guess thats ok, but you want your abs to work.

    Also to those who say to you your abs are meant to "stablize you", they are only half right. you have core muscles to stabalize you, some to flex contract so you curl up (crunch/sit up etc) and curl down* think a floor cobra* and some that will work on twisting your abs. your abs are not really a 'one muscle wonder'. you have different muscles that make up your core.

    if sit ups are to hard by curling up, then do what vampborn suggested. the l sit is also a good one as well. and good luck with your test.
    "The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender!"

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    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Yeah thats just the thing, I either cant or just dont understand how to curl up. I might just have to fork some cash out for a personal trainer to get some help because im starting to feel something isint right because I should be able to do sit ups.
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    Registered User Carolina4eva's Avatar
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    Its now been almost 3 weeks, and im just showing no improvements at all. I saw a personal trainer at my gym last week and he said the only thing he noticed was that I used to much Hip Flexor when doing sit ups and that it was something in my mind, to learn how to not use so much hip flexor. We did a bunch of ab workouts to get my core burning then went back to do some sit ups to see if I could target my abs instead of hip flexors. Well I just dont know anymore, the most sit ups I can put out at a time are 10....anything after that is like 6. my hip flexors still hurt when I do situps. I just have no idea what to do anymore....Its becoming very frustrating.
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    Originally Posted by Carolina4eva View Post
    Yeah thats just the thing, I either cant or just dont understand how to curl up. I might just have to fork some cash out for a personal trainer to get some help because im starting to feel something isint right because I should be able to do sit ups.
    There should be little to no "curl" motion in your situps u want to try and keep your back straight I think u may just have poor mind muscle connection concentrate on flexing your abs and making your stomach tighten often. I had never done a situp without having my feet held until I got the ufc trainer for kinect I'm bigger than you but I find myself with my feet planted firmly on the floor just slightly wider than my hips hands crossed on my chest kinda have to drive ur hips against the floor while ur abs pull you up (this is how it feels to me). Also u should just start by seeing how many you can do in 2 minutes instead of how many u can do in a set and just try to beat your best each time you do them
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    Originally Posted by justinvb_657 View Post
    There should be little to no "curl" motion in your situps u want to try and keep your back straight I think u may just have poor mind muscle connection concentrate on flexing your abs and making your stomach tighten often. I had never done a situp without having my feet held until I got the ufc trainer for kinect I'm bigger than you but I find myself with my feet planted firmly on the floor just slightly wider than my hips hands crossed on my chest kinda have to drive ur hips against the floor while ur abs pull you up (this is how it feels to me). Also u should just start by seeing how many you can do in 2 minutes instead of how many u can do in a set and just try to beat your best each time you do them
    I have tried to time myself. Thing is my body just gives out around 10. Sit ups just dont feel easy to me. Its such a hard struggle to get up/
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