Work up to your situp by first flattening and strengthening your abdomen. Learn these situp-type exercises so you can engage your three abdominal muscle groups, gradually reshape your abdomen and accomplish a situp. Use a resistance band or even a robe belt for assistance in the beginning. Apply situp modifications at home or in an exercise class.
Tummy Compressions and Roll-Up Teaser
Learn control of your deepest abdominal muscle called transverse abdominis. Lie on your back in a bent knee position. Reach your arms overhead and inhale through your nose. Exhale and compress your abdomen and ribcage down toward your spine.
Continue doing these stomach compressions 15 times each day as you learn the feeling of engaging and compressing your abdomen.
Add one movement to also engage your rectus abdominis, or six-pack muscle. Begin on your back with your arms stretched overhead. Inhale through your nose. Exhale through pursed lips as you reach down your body and pretend to blow a birthday candle out in your bellybutton. Watch your abdomen flatten downward. This is a roll-up teaser.
Continue doing the roll-up teaser for 15 repetitions every day. Remain patient. Improvements are noticeable six to eight weeks after consistent and correct exercise. These exercises will strengthen your situp muscles as they flatten and reshape your abdomen.
Work closer to performing situps with your reshaped stronger abdomen by progressing to resistance-band roll-downs. Sit as tall as you can with your legs straight out in a "V" position.
Place the arches of your feet in a robe belt or resistance band as if they're in a stirrup. Grasp the ends of the belt far enough down so that it is tight. Allow gentle tension if you are using a resistance band. Tuck your pelvis under and position your spine in a gentle crescent curve.
Inhale through your nose. Exhale, compress your abdomen and ribcage down toward your spine and slowly control rolling your spine down to the mat. This is a negative muscle contraction, which flattens and strengthens your abdomen through the situp motion.
Remain on your back holding the robe belt. Bend your knees and flex your feet so your heels are on the floor. Keep your knees apart and the belt in your arches.
Inhale through your nose. Exhale, compress your abdomen downward and begin to roll your spine up off the floor.
Pull on the belt with just enough assistance to sit up and yet engage your stomach muscles. Hold your knees open as you rise to make room for your abdomen.
Push on the robe belt with your leg muscles and slide your heels forward as you rise. Flatten your knees down as you complete your situp.
- "Strength Training on the Ball"; Colleen Craig; 2005
- "Pilates for Wimps"; Jennifer DeLuca; 2003
- "The Pilates Body"; Brooke Siler; 2000