The good old sit up bench is still one of the most beneficial exercise equipment to make your abdominal muscles strong. Compared to the traditional sit-ups on the floor or crunches it is more efficient since it provides a wider range of motion. Also, these workout benches are adjustable so you can increase or decrease the resistance. And finally, it works not only your rectus abdominis (six pack muscles) but also your oblique and hip flexors.
However, I know a lot of people at the gym who do not like using the ab bench as they feel pain in their lower back or neck. Unless they do not have some physical problems that pain usually comes from the bad performance of the exercise. For example, they bend their back or try to sit up by pulling their neck instead using their core muscles.
If you are among them, this tutorial is for you. Follow the steps below to learn the proper performance.Related: Best sit up bench reviews for home gym
1. Warm Up & Stretch
Typically, people use the incline bench at the end of the workout when they are warmed up. If not, always spend a few minutes with warming up your entire body and made a few stretches. Mainly pay attention to your lower back (make trunk rotations).
2. Set the angle of the board
The next step is to set the sit up bench to the incline level you want to use. The higher the level, the more difficult the exercise will be. So, if your fitness level is lower, a 30-45 degree will do.
3. Sitting on the bench
Place your feet between the rollers that support your feet and bend your knees in a 90-degree position. Lie back and put your fingers behind your head. If you are a newbie, you can place your arms on your chest to make the movement easier.
4. Lift your upper body
Now lift your torso by focusing on your abs and keep your back straight. Do not use the momentum or pull your neck with your hands. Only the abs muscles work. Exhale when you go up and reach a point when your elbows touch the outer side of your knees. Keep that position for 2-3 seconds.
5. Lowering your body back
Going back to the starting position is as important. Lower your body slowly backward by using your abs muscles and with straight back. During the motion inhale.
If you do your sit-ups this way you will not feel the pain in your back, spine or neck, and it strengthens your core muscles supremely.
Anyway, here is a video tutorial to check the steps.
- You can make your sit-ups on the decline bench even more challenging by increasing the level of the board or using hand weights. But, always keep the correct form! I recommend not using weight until you can make about 25 sit-ups properly at once.
- If you want to focus more on your obliques, you can twist your upper body towards the opposite knee as if you were doing Russian twist.
- If you find hard to perform the abdominal exercises in incline position too hard, you can use a flat bench first until your stomach get strong enough.
Did you know that you can use the bench for several other ab exercises? Check out the list of sit up bench exercises here.