Every woman who wants toned abs and a trim tummy tends to turn to situps as her exercise savior. Unfortunately though, the idea that you can spot-reduce fat from your midsection by performing hundreds or situps is a myth. You might feel the burn, but you won't do much for trimming the fat. You can perform situps to strengthen your core and build some muscle, plus they can also be useful for boosting your metabolism, provided you do them in the right way.
Increase the weight you're lifting. Forget this thousand situps a day nonsense, or the idea that performing high reps will torch fat, you'll get much more of a metabolism boost by training heavy. High-intensity resistance training has a far greater effect on your metabolism than cardio or light weightlifting and burns more calories after you've finished your session, according to Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico. Grab a 10-pound weight plate, hold it above your head and start doing sit-ups. Once you can manage three sets of 15 reps, it's time to go heavier.
Pair situps with another exercise. This is known as supersetting and is the ultimate metabolism-boosting workout, writes Natalie Gingerich in Fitness magazine. Rather than resting after each set, perform another exercise straight after you've finished your last situp. Pairing opposite muscles works well, so perform a lower-back exercise between situp sets. Go for back extensions on a machine, the floor or on a stability ball.
Perform your situps as part of a circuit. Metabolic circuits are every girl's dream -- they build strength, burn fat and raise your metabolism through the roof. Pick five or six exercises that target your whole body and perform a maximum number of reps in 20 seconds on each, advises trainer Jen Comas. Do all of the exercises, then rest for a minute or two and go again. A sample circuit could include situps, jump lunges, dumbbell squats, knee pushups and cable rows.
- Perform your situps as part of a whole-body workout, performed two to three times per week.
- Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, and ask a trainer if you need help with any techniques.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.