PT reveals sit ups are a complete waste of time if you want a flat stomach – and 3 moves that will work | The Sun

WHEN you make the effort to workout, you no doubt feel smug knowing did something good for your health.

But what if you discovered that all that hard work you were putting in was actually doing you more harm than good?

When it comes to one particular exercise, this could be the case.

It’s one of the most common exercises you see people doing every day in the gym and one that you yourself will have done countless times too.

The move that could be negatively impacting your health every time you complete a rep?

The sit-up.

Read more on fitness


Guys wouldn't pay attention to me – then I lost weight & had a gym glow-up


Want to lose weight? The best time to exercise to maximise fat loss revealed

A third of the Brits considers their stomachs to be the least favourite feature of their bodies, according to a survey by CosMedocs, so it's no wonder so much time is dedicated to the exercise.

But Jack Claxton, Expert Personal for Trainer David Lloyd Clubs says the sit-up does “absolutely nothing for your abs whatsoever”, while also being an injury hazard.

Many fitness professionals admit they tell others to leave out of their workout routines in order to avoid causing injury.

If performed incorrectly, actually causes the body to strain in all the wrong places, leaving long-lasting muscle damage and injury.

Most read in Diet & Fitness


Dermatologist reveals 5 cheap supplements she takes every day to defy ageing


You should eat 30 plants weekly for good health – 7 surprising foods that count


3 exercises that are a waste of time to get rid of your muffin top & 3 that work


How to get a body like Posh Spice – from snack hacks to key exercises

“The sit-up is one of the most common exercises associated with having visible abs,” says Jack.

“However, people do not realise that at the wrong speed or performed with the wrong form, it can actually have a negative impact on the neck and lower back and does absolutely nothing for your abs whatsoever.”

Performing sit-ups fast is the most common mistake Jack sees.

“Not only does this make them a lot less effective as you are not challenging your core muscles, it also encourages you to lose form and have poor posture” he warns.

Poor posture during a sit-up could put pressure on the wrong places, and may also reinforce bad posture habits day-to-day.

Jack says: “Many people round their backs, yank their necks and allow their lower back to arch off the floor, all of which result in the use of back and neck muscles rather than the core.

“The problem with poor posture is that it puts unwanted strain on the back and neck which can overstretch or even tear these muscles which can be very painful.

“Poor posture when performing exercise can also cause reduced circulation and breathing issues, both of which can seriously impact a person’s overall health and wellbeing.”

That’s not where the health issues end – straining the wrong muscles when exercising can also lead to long-term chronic pain, it’s claimed. 

Jack says: “A small strain of a muscle isn’t going to suddenly cause you life-long pain, but consistent misuse of back and neck muscles can be serious.

“Muscle tears or spasms can lead to scarring on the muscles, which can cause further back stiffness, tightness and pain that can last a long time if not taken care of.

“All muscle damage wants to be avoided for optimum health.”

So, should we be rushing over to anyone we see doing one in the gym urgently telling them to stop immediately? No. 

But it might be worth seriously re-thinking whether you want to eliminate sit-ups from your workouts.

How to do sit-ups properly 

Not ready to cut ties with your favourite exercise just yet? 

Jack has some advice for you: “The way to get as many benefits as possible from a sit-up is to actually slow down the movement keep it controlled.

“Make sure you’re not overdoing the range of movement by controlling every second of the exercise as you perform it.

“What I mean by this is that the upward motion of a sit-up can actually have the most effect on your abs if you squeeze and contract your core muscles and keep your upper body in a straight line, avoiding too much of a curve in your spine.

“On the downward phase of the movement again, slow it down and focus on your core so you use these muscles and avoid letting your lower back take over and compensate.

“Slow is key as it prevents you from using momentum and instead makes your muscles control the exercise.”

Alternatives to the sit-up

Still want to work the core but now feel lost without the sit-up? Here are three ab alternative exercises for you to add to your training.

1. The plank

A “hold” exercise, this full body move fires up your core and helps to improve your posture by building strength in all your major tummy muscles.

Begin on the floor on your hands and knees then place your forearms down and step both feet back so your body is in a straight line like a “plank.”

Hold this position for one or two minutes, depending on your ability.

2. Mountain climbers

A great way to build core strength while also getting the heart rate up, the mountain climber challenges multiple muscles groups without too much risk.

Start in a high plank position on the floor then lift your left foot and drive the left knee across the body toward the right knee. 

Return to the start position then do the same movement with the right knee. 

Keep going, alternating between legs, for 35 seconds.

3. Reverse crunch

A great alternative to the sit-up is the reverse crunch.

Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.

Lift your feet off the ground and raise your thighs, tucking your knees toward your face as far as you can go without lifting your back from the mat. 

Read More on The Sun

Money matters

I budgeted £100 each for my kids' Xmas gifts – trolls say they 'have nothing'


Full list of cold weather payments to help you through the winter

Your hips and lower back should lift off the ground and your knees should remain bent.

Lower your feet back toward the floor until they reach the ground.

Source: Read Full Article