Millions of people exercise regularly but still struggle to get rid of excess belly fat. That's because belly fat is harder to shed than the layer of subcutaneous fat just beneath your skin. According to a Mayo Clinic news column, getting rid of belly fat takes a combination of eating a healthy diet and exercise. You can do situps, but it's important to complete the right amount of situp repetitions to have an aerobic response. Even a low intensity workout that really gets your heart pumping will cause your cardiovascular system to stimulate the breakdown of fat in the body. Knowing which situps to perform and how many to do can make all the difference in taking those last few inches off your waist.
A research study conducted by Georgia Regents University found that traditional situps more effectively work the muscle groups of the abdomen than performing crunches or sit-ups on an exercise ball. To do a traditional situp, start with your back flat on the floor. Your legs should be bent at the knees with the heels positioned just in front of the knees. You can cross your arms over your chest or place them behind the head. However, you should avoid pulling the neck to ensure a safe position and that your abs are doing the work. Lift your upper body up to your knees and hold the position for a full second. Then, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 50 repetitions for an advanced level routine.
The incline situp is an intermediate level exercise that maximizes the amount of resistance on your body. You will need an inclined bench for this exercise. Start by inverting your body: Hold onto the top of the bench and hook your feet beneath the support pads. Be sure your feet are firmly secured before releasing your hands. Then, lean back toward the floor with your back against the bench rest and your knees bent. Raise your upper body from the abdomen, lifting toward your knees for a single repetition. Drape your arms across the chest or put your hands up near your head. Do not jerk your body from the neck. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps. As you get stronger, increase the resistance by doing weighted incline situps or by lifting the bench to a steeper incline. To do weighted incline situps, lift dumbbells over your chest or a single weighted plate behind your head.
The V Situp is an intermediate level exercise aimed at strengthening your core and reducing fat. Start out by sitting on the floor with your knees facing the ceiling. Bend your elbows while leaning your upper body back until your elbows are flat on the floor and your forearms are supporting the weight of your upper body. You will feel the tightness in your abdominal muscles. Keeping your legs straight, lift both legs to the ceiling and hold the position for a few seconds. Then, lower them back down to the floor. Perform three sets of seven to 10 reps. Once this exercise is no longer challenging, raise your upper body to the full V position. Your upper body should be at about a 45-degree angle from the floor. Reach your arms forward, toward your feet. Use your arms and hands only for stability, holding them out to your side. Repeat the leg lifts, holding the position for a few seconds before lowering your legs slowly to the floor.
A recent study conducted by San Diego State University rated the bicycle sit-up as one the most effective abdominal workouts. This exercise not only burns fat, it strengthens the oblique muscles of your side and the rectus abdominis muscles of your mid-section. To properly perform the bicycle situp, start with your back flat on the floor. Bend your knees slightly but keep your feet on the floor. Place your hands behind your head or on the sides, by your ears. Next, bring your left elbow up to touch your right knee. As these two points touch, extend your left leg straight out. Alternate these two motions to simulate pedaling a bike. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise three times a week, and you will see a noticeable reduction in belly fat.
Frederick S. Blackmon's love for fiction and theater eventually led to a career writing screenplays for the film and television industry. While living in Florida, Blackmon began exploring issues on global warming, health and environmental science. He spent two years as a Parkour and free-running instructor as well. Now he writes everything from how-to blogs to horror films.