Flat abs is a fitness and weight-loss goal for many people, a fact evidenced by how prominently ab workouts appear on the covers of fitness and beauty magazines. A daily course of 30 situps can help you get those flat abs. After all, you'd be working the body area you want to flatten every day.
Situps are an abdominal exercise you may remember from gym class. You do a situp by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. From that position, you "sit up" by curling your abdomen to bring your torso up to a sitting position. You then lower yourself to the floor and do another. A course of 30 is a healthy goal in the situp department, especially for people just starting out with their fitness regimen.
Flat abs come more from reducing belly fat than from sculpting the muscles beneath. When it comes to losing body fat, it comes off your body as a whole -- even if you lose the fat by doing exercises that focus on a specific body part. The idea that stomach exercises will focus on stomach fat is called "spot reduction" and is a soundly debunked fitness myth.
At two seconds per situp, it takes about one minute to do a set of 30. According to health resource website HealthStatus.com, a 170-lb. person will burn about 10 calories in one minute of calisthenics such as situps. Situps are a resistance exercise, meaning they're better at shaping, toning and building muscle than they are at reducing body fat.
As a resistance exercise, a set of 30 situps won't make a significant contribution to fat loss, but they will improve the shape and tone of the stomach muscles beneath the fat. This has two advantages. It will create a slimmer and stronger frame for the fat to hang on -- creating an illusion of fat loss as your abdomen tightens up. Once you do lose your fat, it will reveal an attractive set of stomach muscles you've earned via your situps.
Situps are a powerful resistance exercise for your core. However, because a fat belly comes from losing fat, not building muscle, they aren't the best choice for developing a flat stomach. In other words, they will help but not much. Add at least 30 minutes of cardio a day into your fitness routine to get on the right path for a flatter stomach and tighter physique.
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy"; Walter Willett, et al.; 2004
- "Body for Life"; Bill Phillips; 1999
- Health Status: Calories Burned