A flat tummy protects you from obesity-related diseases, and to top that, it is always in trend! Do you want a flatter tummy? Do you often hold your breath and pull in your tummy each time you click a picture? Do you want a slim core? If you nodded a yes, then you need to add sit-ups and crunches to your exercise regime.
Both sit-ups and crunches are easy exercises that you can do anywhere. Whether you are at the gym or home, you require very little space to perform these. Often, people refer to the two interchangeably. While crunches and sit-ups might seem similar, there are certain physical differences that set them apart from one another. Yes, they appear same, but don’t be fooled by this!
Also, keep in mind that you need to do them correctly or you may injure your neck and spine. Keep reading to learn the differences between sit-ups and crunches, how to do these workouts, the cons and benefits, and lots more.
A sit-up is an intensive exercise that targets and strengthens the abdominal muscles, hip flexors, muscles in your lower back, neck, and chest. These let you burn more calories.
But if not performed correctly, you may increase the risks of back pain and injury. The two major reasons why sit-ups might be hurting your tailbone are poor form and excessive pressure. If too much pressure is applied, the nerve endings of your tailbone may become problematic. Also, if you have had a spine injury in the past, the chances of hurting your back are increased.
Here’s the Correct Way to Do Sit-Ups
Sit-ups are great for sculpting a six-pack and achieving a toned tummy. But they may also leave your tailbone sore and bruised. To avoid any injuries, follow the 6 steps mentioned below –
- Lie down on your back on a mat. Keep your feet flat, legs hip-width apart, and spine straight.
- Gently push your pelvic region up, and ensure that your lower back is entirely touching the mat.
- Now, either place your hands behind your ears without pulling your neck or cross them to opposite shoulders.
- Exhale and bring your upper body all the way up toward your knees.
- Slowly, inhale, and lower your torso down to the initial position.
- Again, exhale and repeat.
A Sit-Up Hack
You can have a table to anchor your feet on or a workout buddy to hold your feet down with their hands. This will ensure proper form because you will not have to worry about keeping your feet on the ground on top of everything else.
It is one of the most popular exercises for toning the abdominal muscles, primarily the rectus abdominis muscle and the obliques. People who are trying to shred fats for the six-pack abs often do this. While these strengthen your core and improve your posture and balance, these do not burn fat.
If not done properly, these can cause significant back pain, especially for beginners. Since your spine flexes during crunches, you may experience strain on your neck and back. Make sure you perform the crunches in the right way.
How to do Crunches Without Hurting Your Back?
Here is a 6-step guide to do crunches like a pro, without hurting your back.
- Lie down on your back on a mat.
- Place your feet firmly on the ground, and legs shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your legs and stabilize your lower body.
- Next, either place your hands behind your ears without pulling your neck or cross them to opposite shoulders.
- Lift your head and shoulders from the ground and feel your abdominal muscles contract. Exhale as you rise.
- Slowly inhale as you lower your head and shoulders down to the initial position. Repeat.
A Crunch Hack
Crunches can sometimes feel repetitive, and so you can add a twist to them. While performing crunches, you can point your elbows towards opposite knees to spice things up. Or you can crunch to the beat of a song!
Necessary Precautions for Performing Sit-Ups and Crunches
- Use a thick, foam exercise mat or an exercise ball while working out.
- Avoid pulling yourself up with your neck.
- Don’t drop your body suddenly when you are finished.
- Avoid weighing your feet down.
Sit-Ups Vs. Crunches: A Quick Review
Contrary to what it seems, crunches and sit-ups are two different exercises. Though both exercises target abs, sit-ups are more intensive and have a fuller range of motion.
- Crunches are an isolation exercise that requires raising your head and shoulders off the floor while sit-ups require lifting your entire torso.
- Crunches engage the abs almost exclusively while sit-ups engage abs as well as other muscle groups like hip flexors, neck, chest, lower legs.
Crunches are also, sometimes, called half sit-ups. It is challenging to do sit-ups without rounding the lower back. And this is what increases your chances of hurting your lumbar spine.
Which is Better – Sit-Ups or Crunches?
Depends on what you are looking for! If you want to sculpt your abs, crunch them out! But if you also want to work your hips, back, and chest together with the abdominal muscles, sit-ups would be a better choice.
The Key Takeaway
Both sit-ups and crunches are abdominal exercises for developing core strength. However, crunches are only helpful in building six-pack abs, while sit-ups not only improve your core strength but also increase hip flexor strength, flexibility, tone your tummy, abs, and improve your posture and balance. Be careful while performing any of these workouts, or you might end up hurting your back severely.
Start slow and focus on correct posture to avoid any injuries. To get the best results, combine the exercises with a healthy, low-calorie diet. So, what are you waiting for? Begin working out today and get ready to turn all heads as you transform your body. Good luck!