How to Make Situps Easier

Proper form can reduce strain when you do situps.
i Jupiterimages/ Images

Situps are a classic abdominal exercise that most people have done at least once. But improper form, your overall fitness status and a history of injuries can all make situps more difficult and even cause back and neck pain. If you're struggling to do situps, talk to your doctor first to ensure you don't have a muscle or joint problem. Then gradually work up to doing more reps of situps as you become more proficient.

    Adopt proper form when you do situps. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Your feet should remain flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, on the sides of your head or across your chest. Don't use your hands to lift yourself up. Then, push the small of your back down so that it's flat against the floor. This engages your abs and reduces strain on your back -- a common cause of pain during situps. While tightening your abdominal muscles, lift your torso off the ground toward your knees. Exhale as you lift up and then inhale as you go back down.

    Perform your situps on an incline. Decline boards are ideal for this option, which reduces the strain on your upper body and makes it much easier to do a situp. Position yourself so that your legs are higher on the incline than your upper body, but keep your knees bent and the small of your back pushed into the ground. Then perform situps. This approach will slightly reduce the muscle-building potential of your situps, but can help you build up enough strength to do situps on a flat surface.

    Do situps on an exercise ball. This can reduce the strain on your back and will help you to maintain proper form. Place the agility ball underneath the small of your back and keep your feet flat on the floor. Your torso should be even with the ball; don't bend your back so that you're completely resting on the ball and your head is down. Then slowly elevate your torso up off of the ball while keeping your legs still and abs engaged.

    Things You'll Need

    • Decline board

    • Stability ball


    • Situps alone won't cause you to lose fat in your midsection. To burn fat, you'll need to do cardiovascular exercise.

      Start with fewer reps -- five or less -- and gradually build up to more reps as situps become easier. When you're first mastering this exercise, proper form is vital.

the nest