What Are the Benefits of Weighted Sit-Ups?

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.

Weighted sit ups can help strengthen your core. (Image: FatCamera/E+/GettyImages)

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.

Tip

Weighted sit-ups are helpful for increasing the strength and size of your abdominal muscles because they add stimulation that you can't get without using the weight.

Weighted Sit-Ups

Use a dumbbell, medicine ball or weighted plate to perform weighted sit-ups.

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.

  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.
  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.
  3. Clutching the weight to your chest, perform a sit-up by rolling up toward your knees.
  4. Slowly lower yourself down to the floor. That counts as one repetition.

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 an October 2015 study published by 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 a January 2016 study published in Frontiers in Physiology. However, training to failure is also very taxing, so save it for the end of your workout.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.