fitness

5 favourite sit-up variations for anyone bored of the original.

Image via iStock.

Sit-ups. They can get a little boring, no? OK, a lot boring. So we bring you five different variations so you can mix it up and keep motivated.

Not to mention, there are loads of other benefits to doing different types of crunches. We chatted with Jay Bruno, a personal trainer at NetFit, about other variations of the original sit up that are a little more inspiring.

1. Abdominal crunches with an exercise ball.

“Make sure you squeeze through this movement. The exercise ball is a great way to make sure you using a full range of motion,” explains Bruno.

First of all choose an exercise ball that allows your knees to rest comfortably at 90 degrees. When sitting on the exercise ball, make sure you have the correct posture to ensure the lower portion of your back is supported. Put your hands behind your head while keeping your elbows out and keep your chin lifted slightly.

Make sure your neck is nice and relaxed, crunch forward keeping tension through the middle part of your tummy (your rectus abdominals). Continue this with control until you have completed 15 reps.

Abdominal crunches with an exercise ball. (Image via iStock.)

2. Torso Twist.

This one is so simple to do, you can do it anywhere. At work. While watching TV. On public transport... OK, maybe not the last one. But this is a really good way to warm up the abdominal region and fire up the obliques.

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Start by standing with your feet hip width apart with your knees slightly bent. Raise your arms up to about shoulder-height. With elbows bent, gently rotate the torso to the right, back to the front, and finally to the left. You can also raise your knee to your elbow if you want to add a little more pressure.

Torso Twist. (Image via iStock.)

3. Bicycle crunches.

It's just like riding a bike but lying vertically. This one is a great way to challenge control and balance coordination while giving your middle and lower abs some much-needed attention.

Start by lying on the mat with knees bent, feet on the floor, and hands behind your head.

Press your lower back into the mat and tighten your ab muscles as you lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the mat. Simultaneously move your right elbow and left knee toward each other while straightening your right leg (don’t let it touch the ground).

Bring your right knee back up and immediately move your left elbow and your right knee toward each other while straightening your left leg.

Continue to move like this until you complete 30 reps, as if you are pedaling a bicycle.

Bicycle situps. (Image via iStock.)
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4. Reverse sit up pulses.

This is a great way to target your lower abdominal muscles. A warning? It will burn.

Begin by lying on your back with your legs up in the air. If you are a beginner you can leave your knees slightly bent. (Post continues after gallery.)

Keep your arms down along your side, palms facing down.  As you squeeze your lower abs, raise your bum then gently lower back to the floor.

Now without using momentum pulse up while maintaining good control and tension through your abs (keep squeezing those abs).

Reverse sit up pulses. (Image via iStock.)
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5. V Sit ups.

This one is brutal but effective. This move will target your whole abdominal area and you may also feel it through your hips and thighs.

Lie on your back with your arms straight up behind you and your legs straight. As you breathe out, squeeze your tummy engage your core and lift both your torso and legs straight off the ground and reach for your toes.

Your body now should resemble a V shape.

Lower back down with control, keeping a tight core and your legs straight.

V Sit Up. (Image via iStock.)

Extra Tips.

Bruno says to always use control while performing your ab exercises, not momentum. Remember that this is only one aspect of developing and maintaining a toned, strong stomach.

What is your favourite variation of the generic sit up?

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