Sit-ups are a staple of many ab workouts. I remember doing sit-ups in gym class for the Presidential Fitness Test.
To get the Presidential award you had to do so many pushups, pull ups, sit-ups, and the sit and reach. Do they still do this test? I enjoyed every part of the test except the silly sit and reach. Who needs flexibility anyways?
Back to sit-ups and why they are bad for you. Here’s the thing, when done correctly a sit-up or crunch can actually be a great exercise for the rectus abdominus (6 pack abs).
However, most of us do some awful form or sit-ups. With the most common amerror being the combination of excessive neck flexion and lower back flexion.
Our everyday life puts those areas into repetitive flexion. Any extra of those movements has the potential to lead to injury of those regions.
So how should you do a sit-up? Avoid excessive neck flexion by keeping your chin retracted (think double chin) and neutral, and avoid forward flexion of your middle and lower back. This is easier to do if you can imagine a stick going from the back of your neck to your tailbone and that stick cannot bend or break.
Try maintaining this posture and then you feel your abs working. If you cannot maintain that form choose other ab exercises like planks or only perform a sit-up as high as you can until you lose your form.