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Proper Situps on an Incline Board

by
author image Dan Harriman
Dan Harriman began writing professionally in 2009 and has a varied background in marketing, ranging from sports management to music promotion. Harriman holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communications from the University of Kansas and earned the International Advertising Association's diploma in marketing communications.
Proper Situps on an Incline Board
Proper Sit-Ups on an Incline Board Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to exercise, gravity is your friend — though it may not feel that way when you’re working against it. That’s why the incline board, also known as “slant board,” is a time-honored accessory in the quest for fitness. An incline board is an adjustable bench that can be raised at the foot end to increase its angle. In gyms, they usually have padded braces at the high end for securing the feet and ankles.

Doing sit-ups, curl-ups or crunches on an incline board increases the amount of resistance the muscles must overcome to raise the torso. When you do sit-ups or other exercises on an incline board, you’re increasing the amount of gravity you’re bringing into the equation. Doing sit-ups at angles activates the muscle fibers in a different way and adds intensity your sit-ups.

Read More: Slant Board to Stretch Out Your Back

Form is Everything

“The form is the same as doing sit-ups horizontally, but it’s definitely going to put all the more stress on the lower back,” says Los Angeles-based personal trainer David Knox, author of "Body School: A New Guide to Improved Movement in Daily Life." “But you’re going to be all the more tempted to pull on your neck, which can cause you to pull neck muscles,” he adds.

Placing your hands behind your head adds resistance to the exercise, but it's important to remember that your hands are there to support the neck, not to pull your torso forward. This can cause neck train. If you're just starting out, you may find it easier to cross your arms over your chest. It’s important to lower your back all the way down the surface because otherwise the abdominal muscles don’t engage. If the neck is sensitive, it should be remain in a neutral position with space between the chin and breast bone.

Proper Sit-Ups on an Incline Board
Proper Sit-Ups on an Incline Board Photo Credit nito100/iStock/Getty Images

Hip Flexors Need Love, Too

Although one of the main criticisms of sit-ups is the aforementioned fact that the hip flexor rather than the abdominal muscles complete the movement, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — if your abdominal muscles are strong enough to counter the flexor muscles’ pull on the lower spine. Sit-ups on an incline board allow you to exercise both the abdominal muscles and the hip flexors at the same time. According to the sports medicine web site ExRx.net, sit-ups on an incline board can be performed safely for those with adequate abdominal conditioning.

Read More: Slant Board for Calf Stretch

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