A strong core can enhance your quality of life. According to MayoClinic.com, core-strengthening exercises can tone your tummy, make daily physical activities easier and improve your stability, balance and posture. Situps can be part of a core-strengthening routine. You don't need expensive equipment to do them and you can do them almost anywhere. To avoid injuries and to get the best results, proper form is essential.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Avoid lying on a hard floor, because this can result in pain in the lower back -- use a padded mat or lie on a plush carpet. Alternatively, perform situps on a stability ball, because this supports your spine while you still get a full range of motion.
Cross your arms in front of your chest so your left hand rests on your right shoulder and your right hand rests on your left shoulder. You can also place your fingertips on your head, right behind your ears. Do not clasp the hands behind the head, as this puts strain on the neck.
Contract your abdominals and visualize pulling your bellybutton toward your spine, so there's no arch in your back or space between your lower back and the floor.
Lift your head, shoulder blades and rib cage up toward your knees so only your buttocks and feet are touching the floor. Exhale as you come up, using only your abdominal strength. Keep your neck lengthened and your gaze at the ceiling. Avoid placing your chin on your chest -- imagine there's a grapefruit tucked in between your chin and chest. Don't use jerking motions to propel your body up -- move slowly and controlled.
Inhale as you lower your body down toward the floor, one vertebra at a time. Keep your abdominals contracted and immediately perform your next situp.
- If you're new to exercising, consider hiring a personal trainer to teach you proper form.
- As you get stronger, hold a dumbbell on your chest to make the exercise more challenging.
- If your feet lift off the floor when first doing situps, have a friend hold them down for you or hook them under a piece of heavy furniture.
- March in place for five minutes and lightly twist your torso, to warm up your body before doing situps.