Situps are one of the fundamental exercises that nearly every child learns in gym class. Even though situps can be done by nearly anyone, it takes careful study to execute the movement correctly. If you use bad form during a situp, you are not benefiting from the exercise, and you risk straining muscles. This can result in soreness and may discourage you from doing situps again. Ensure you know proper situp technique to effectively work your muscles and not hurt yourself.
Much like a traditional situp, an incline situp involves raising your upper body and bending forward toward your lower body. This movement causes your abdominals to contract. The difference between a traditional situp and an incline situp is the angle in which your body is positioned. Your upper body lies below your lower body. At such an angle, sitting up and bending forward places more pressure on the abdominals. This makes incline situps more difficult than traditional situps. The movement in an incline situp concentrates the force onto the lower abdominals.
Sit on the top of the decline bench and wrap your feet behind the pads. Ensure the pads are set to the proper height so that your legs form a 90-degree angle when sitting back. Lie down until your back is flat against the bench. You can cross your arms on your chest or lightly place your hands at the sides of your head. Begin by lifting your entire back off the bench without hunching. Crunch downward, arching your back, when your upper body reaches its highest point and forms a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Slowly lower your upper body back down, maintaining a straight back throughout. Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.
Weighted Incline Situps
You can make incline situps more challenging by adding resistance. Resistance can be incorporated into the exercise in various ways, including pressing a free-weight plate against your chest. Cross your arms over the plate to hold it in place. Another way to increase the difficulty is by wrapping a resistance band around the bottom of the bench or the bench's rear legs if the band is long. Grasp the handles when you are ready to begin the exercise and hold them either at the sides of your head or on the top of your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
The incline situp can place a lot of strain on your lower back. If you have back problems, perform traditional situps first. If you are not being challenged by traditional situps, try incline situps but without any added resistance. You should only feel your abdominals being affected by the exercise. Stop performing the exercise at the first sign of discomfort. When doing incline situps, never pull on your head in an effort to bend your body forward. Pulling on your head can strain your neck and result in soreness. Focus on using only your abdominals to move your upper body.