The Core of It All: How Effective Are Sit Ups?

Welcome back to The Core of It All, our one-stop shop for all things abs. This summer, we want you to focus on centering yourself—not only in the name of looking good and getting toned, but for better overall wellness and relaxation. In our last post, we talked about planks and offered alternatives to the popular move. Now, we’ll dive into just how necessary sit ups are. Read on for more about the popular ab move.

More often than not, sit ups are included in an ab routine for a couple of reasons: they seemingly give us a good squeeze on the muscles, and they allow us to lie on the floor for a few minutes of our workout.

But the truth is, the exercise often isn’t the most effective for women. First, sit ups only hit one area of the abdominal muscles—the 6-pack—and leave the obliques and lower abs out of the picture. (And as we already learned, that’s not great for sculpting a well-developed core from all angles.) Second, the exercise can put a lot of strain on the neck, back, and spine if not done properly. The move can put unnecessary pressure on the hip flexors, too—an area P.volve tries to pay close attention to.

There are more better, more efficient ways to hit these muscles that require no crunching whatsoever. Our suggested core strengthening exercises don’t only engage the entire stomach, but they work to tone specific areas like the obliques and lower abs. Each uses the p.ball, which is commonly thought of as a butt and thigh-toning tool, but here it acts as the resistance for the entire abdomen. And in the process, you still do get a good burn on the rest of the body.

Micro Knee Tuck

At-Home Ab Exercises | Micro Knee Tuck

Lay with your back firmly on the mat, legs lifted with feet up toward the ceiling and knees straight. Keep arms down by your sides and head resting on the mat. Slowly bend the knees toward your chest only about 1/3 of the way, enough to engage the lower abs, then press the feet straight back up toward the ceiling. Repeat 8 reps. Use the p.ball or ankle band for increased intensity.

90-Degree Shift Out

At-Home Ab Exercises | 90 Degree Shift Out

Lay with your back firmly on the mat, legs lifted into tabletop with knees at 90-degrees. Keep arms down by your sides and head resting on the mat. Flex the feet and slowly start to shift the feet forward 1-3 inches without fully extending the knees. Pause, then bring the knees back in line with the hips. Repeat for 8 reps. Use with p.ball for increased intensity.

Bent Knee Taps

At-Home Ab Exercises | Bent Knee Taps

Lay with your back firmly on the mat, legs lifted into tabletop with knees at 90-degrees. Keep arms down by your sides and head resting on the mat. Keeping your left leg completely still, lower your right foot half-way down towards the bottom right corner of your mat. Pause, then pull the knee back in to start. Repeat 8 reps, then switch legs. Use with the p.ball for increased intensity.

Stay tuned for more to come from our ab series, The Core of It All. And for more advice on toned abs, read tips for greater portion control and moves to flatten your stomach.