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What Are the Benefits of Weighted Sit-Ups?

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
What Are the Benefits of Weighted Sit-Ups?
What Are the Benefits of Weighted Sit-Ups? Photo Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Sit-ups are a classic ab exercise, but if you do them all the time, they could become too easy. Kick up the intensity by adding weights to the exercise. Before you do so, however, it's important to learn the proper form to maximize safety — then you can start adding weight until the exercise is challenging enough for you. As you add weight, your core will get stronger and more solid.

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Weighted Sit-Ups

Use a dumbbell, medicine ball or weighted plate for this exercise.

Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. Start with a weight that is light enough that you can do 10 repetitions. If you can do more than 10 repetitions, increase the amount of weight for the next set.

Step 1

Get into a sit-up position by lying on your back. Take the weight you choose to use and put it on your chest, hugging it with your arms.

Step 2

Anchor your feet by sliding them under the handle of two heavy dumbbells or have a partner stand on your feet. Make sure that your knees are bent.

Step 3

Clutching the weight to your chest, perform a sit-up by rolling up toward your knees.

Step 4

Slowly lower yourself down to the ground. That counts as one repetition.

Read More: What Parts of the Body Do Sit-Ups Affect?

Benefits for Ab Muscle Strength

Depending on your goal, adding weight to your sit-ups can either help or hurt you. Adding weight to an exercise is the best way to get stronger. According to this study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, using more weight in an exercise gives you the benefit of more muscle along

The best thing about weighted sit-ups is that if you want to make the exercise more challenging you simply add weight, meaning you can keep improving for a long time. If you want to get stronger it's best to stick to lower reps — usually five to 10 — because this allows you to use more weight. Focus on increasing the weight every workout instead of the amount of repetitions that you perform.

Benefits for Ab Muscle Growth

If you are looking to have a ripped physique, you won't want to add as much weight to your sit-ups so that you can perform more repetitions., according to an article in the Public Library of Science.

The best way to grow a muscle is by increasing the volume of work that the muscle does. In fitness, volume is the amount of sets you do, multiplied by the amount of repetitions, multiplied by the amount of weight you use. The best way to increase volume is to use a moderate amount of weight and focus on increasing the amount of sets and reps you perform.

Read More: How Many Sets & Reps Build Big Muscles?

Three to four sets of 20 repetitions usually provides enough volume to stimulate a muscle to grow. To continue adding volume to your workouts you can add sets, reps, and weight every workout.

Benefits of Pushing to Failure

It can also help to push to "failure" during this exercise if your goal is to grow the muscle. Wait until your last set of sit-ups and do as many reps as possible until you can't get all the way up to your knees. Pushing to failure helps stimulate your muscle to grow, according to Frontiers in Physiology. However, training to failure is also very taxing, so save it for the end of your workout.

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