Sit-ups: OK to stabilize my feet?

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Sit-ups: OK to stabilize my feet?

Question

During sit-ups I stabilize my feet by placing them under the edge of the sofa. Am I using the proper technique?

Gil
Florida

Answer

Stabilizing your feet during sit-ups can be an effective technique, as long as you're using proper form to do the rest of the exercise. The goal of any isolated abdominal muscle exercise is to work the abdominal muscles without working other muscles around the hips. The more you isolate your abdominal muscles, the more effective your sit-ups will be — and the better your results.

To safely stabilize your feet during sit-ups, place them loosely under the edge of a couch or other heavy piece of furniture. To more effectively isolate your abdominal muscles, though, bend your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle and place your feet against a wall. Avoid having someone rigidly hold down your feet, which some research suggests may work the hip muscles more than the abdominal muscles.

When you're ready to begin the exercise:

  • Fold your arms across your chest, rather than clasping your hands behind your neck or head.
  • Slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor.
  • Hold for three deep breaths.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Keep your movements smooth and controlled, letting your abdominal muscles do the work.

Last Updated: 2010-04-20
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