You will often read stories in newspapers and magazines about how celebrities have slimmed down and developed some impressive abs by doing a crazy amount of sit-ups every day.
However whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with doing sit-ups in isolation or as part of a wider core training program, I don’t think it’s a good idea to focus purely on doing lots of sit-ups.
Here are three reasons why I’m not a huge fan of this particular exercise:
1. Back And Neck Pain
The sit-up is one of those exercises that really needs to be performed correctly if you want to prevent injury. Ther worst thing you can do is to put your hands behind your head and pull yourself up with your hands because this puts a lot of strain on the neck muscles, and will inevitably lead to neck pain at some point.
However whilst this is preventable just by resting your hands on the sides of your head, or by folding your arms across your chest, some experts suggest that sit-ups are still bad for your back, even if you maintain good form, because you are constantly bending your spine.
Therefore this is one reason why it may not be a good idea to do hundreds of these sit-ups every day.
2. Tailbone Pain
Another reason not to do a lot of sit-ups is because it can also cause immense pain in your tailbone. This is not really a problem if you are only doing about 20 sit-ups at a time, but if you are doing hundreds at a time, it can become really sore (as I found out myself several years ago), particularly if you are doing them on a hard surface with no cushioning.
You can alleviate some of this pain by slipping a pillow or a cushion under your bottom, but the constant friction can still cause some degree of pain in this area even after taking these measures.
3. Better Alternatives
There’s no doubt that sit-ups can give your abdominals a lot more definition (providing of course that you have a low body fat percentage to begin with).
However the main reason why I don’t waste time doing hundreds of sit-ups every day (apart from the risk of damaging my spine) is because I believe there are much better alternatives available that will work your entire core, and will give you much greater definition.
For example, in addition to doing a few sit-ups, I also like to do bicycles, leg raises, planks, side planks and a few variations of the crunch in order to hit the obliques, strengthen the core and target every area of the mid-section.
It’s always worth remembering that no matter what exercises you do, whether you do 100, 500 or 2000 sit-ups a day or whether you do a wide range of abdominal exercises, you need to get your body fat down with cardio workouts if you want to see the results of your hard work. You could have the best abs in the world, but if they’re covered by a layer of fat, then it will all have been a waste of time.