3 Reasons to do Ab Curl Ups and NOT Sit-Ups

The ab curl up is a good core strength exercise if done correctly. Your rectus abdominis (6-pack part of your abs) and obliques should do most of the work. Ab curl ups are also safer and more effective than sit-ups.

3 Reasons NOT to do Sit-Ups

1. There is a correct way to do sit-ups but most people are not familiar with the technique. The hip flexor muscles are preferentially recruited to do much of the work during incorrect execution of sit-ups. Hip flexors connect the spine and lower back.

2. Most people also round the lower back when doing sit-ups. This often leads to muscle imbalances and low back pain. Neck pain can also happen if you do sit-ups with your hands behind your head.

3. Because of the injury potential from doing sit-ups, you are better off doing ab curl ups. You will also get a greater range of motion when doing ab ball curl ups.

Here are 2 ways to do Ab Curl Ups:

Ab Curl Ups on the Floor



Lie on your back, knees bent, arms crossed over your chest and feet flat on the floor.

Adjust your pelvis so that your lumbar spine (lower back area) is in the neutral position (slight gap between your back and the floor). The lumbar spine should remain neutral so the low back is not injured. Your shoulders and neck shouldn't assist your abdominals during the movement.

The movement should be slow. Curl up and bring your chin towards your chest. Curl up through the upper back and not the neck. Maintain a neutral spine and brace your abs (as if someone is going to punch you in the gut). Keep your ears and shoulders in alignment.

Use your abdominals to curl your upper back off the floor. Don't move any other body part and keep your arms, shoulders, neck and legs relaxed as the abs pull you up. Your head and arms should curl up with your shoulders.

Stop once your upper back is off the floor. Don't tilt your pelvis or pull with your thighs to lift your upper body. Hold for 2-3 seconds and return slowly to the floor.

Use your abdominals to lower your upper back down to the floor. Don't move your head or arms as you return to the start position.

You can add weight to your chest to make this exercise more difficult.

Ab Ball Curl Ups





Lie on your back on the ball, knees bent about 90 degrees, hands behind head and feet flat on the floor.

Lie on the ball so that your back hugs the ball. Your shoulders and neck shouldn't assist your abdominals during the movement.

The movement should be slow. Curl up and bring your chin towards your chest (to about 45 degrees). Curl up through the upper back and not the neck. Brace your abs during the movement (as if someone is going to punch you in the gut). Keep your ears and shoulders in alignment. Don't round your lower back when lifting your torso.

Use your abdominals to curl your upper back up. Don't move any other body part and keep your arms, shoulders, neck and legs relaxed as the abs pull you up. Your head and arms should curl up with your shoulders.

Don't tilt your pelvis or pull with your thighs to lift your upper body. Hold for 2-3 seconds and return slowly to the starting position.

Use your abdominals to lower your upper back. Don't move your head or arms as you return to the start position.

Curl up!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES

About Mark

About Mark

Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.

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