Why 500 Sit-Ups a Day Is the Wrong Approach to Getting a Six Pack

You may dream about having a tight, sculpted six-pack, but the tricky part is knowing how to get there. After all, one of the most stubborn exercise myths out there is that you can get toned abs by doing thousands of situps, but this simply isn't true.

If you're asking yourself, "Will doing situps every day flatten my stomach?" the answer is no. In fact, situps are one of the least effective ab exercises you can do. Instead, focus on burning fat and building a strong core to truly get the results you're after.


Video of the Day


No, you cannot get a six-pack from doing 500 situps per day. Rather, you should focus on reducing overall body fat by creating a calorie deficit and doing ab exercises that will strengthen and tone your whole core.

Read more: 3 Cardinal Rules of Fast Six-Pack Abs

Situps Vs. Crunches: A Breakdown

First, it's important to note what a situp is, and what the difference is between situps and crunches, as these terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably. While both crunches and situps do target your abdominal muscles, they're actually different physical movements.


According to the American Council on Exercise, doing a crunch entails the following:

  • Lie down with your back on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Think of bringing your ribs down toward your pelvis as you curl your torso toward your thighs. Focus on keeping your tailbone, lower back and feet on the floor.
  • Reverse the torso motion, lowering your shoulders back to the floor with a controlled motion.


By comparison, to perform a situp, do the following:

  • Lie down with your back on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands on the sides or back of your neck.
  • Moving with control, hinge at the hips and bring your chest towards your knees until your upper back is off the floor.
  • Exhale and lower your torso back to the starting position.


Why Situps Don't Work

Even doing 500 situps a day isn't enough to tone your abs. Why? Because exercising specific muscle groups doesn't burn fat primarily from that part of your body: You have to gradually lose fat from all over the body. Keep in mind, too, that genetics, right down to the thickness of your skin, play a role in whether or not you can get that gleaming, perfect-looking six-pack shape you see on fitness magazine covers. Not everybody can achieve this without the aid of an airbrush.



In addition, as cited in Harvard Health Publishing, situps are hard on your back. They push your spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, which can create lower-back discomfort when the hip flexors are too tight or even too strong.

How to Get a Six-Pack

To get the washboard abs you're envisioning, reduce belly fat by creating a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume) and toning your muscles through targeted ab exercises ... that aren't situps.


Exercise-wise, a good place to begun your fitness journey is by getting 30 to 60 minutes of cardio or other whole-body activity per day, at least five days per week. This can be in the form of swimming, running, interval training, cycling or any other high-intensity workout. And, as far as ab exercise goes, Harvard Health Publishing recommends doing planks, squats and lunges, which you don't need any equipment for. These will help strengthen and tone your whole core.

Those who combine calorie-burning physical activity, ab training and a healthy diet are the ones who'll see the best and fastest results. Keep in mind that this process doesn't happen overnight, either. It's a journey and consistency is key.


Change Your Diet and Lifestyle

A healthy diet and lifestyle are crucial when it comes to getting flat abs. As WebMD states, you may be able to lose a pound a week by exercising and making changes to how you eat. Some small but necessary changes include: eating smaller portions, reducing your alcohol and soda intake, adding more steps into your day and eating more low-calorie, high-volume fruits and veggies.


Also, according to WebMD, you should consume only natural, unprocessed foods, eat five or six small meals per day (this will help keep your metabolism stoked all day) and refrain from eating sugary, fatty, processed foods if you want to get a sculpted six-pack.

Remember, staying active and eating right are just as important as ab exercises if you want to have a flat, toned stomach.

Read more: Six-Pack Abs Diet For Women




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...