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Sit-Ups Vs. Crunches—Here’s Which Exercise Is Better For What And Why

Sit-Ups Vs. Crunches—Here’s Which Exercise Is Better For What And Why

What are sit-ups and crunches?

Most people have heard of sit-ups and crunches, but might not know what they are. Sit-ups are an abdominal exercise that involves flexing the spine to bring the torso closer to the thighs. Crunches are a type of sit-up that only involves curling the torso forward, rather than bringing the thighs towards the chest. Both exercises work the abdominal muscles, but crunches place less stress on the neck and spine.

Sit-ups. Crunches. You know that both of these exercises are supposed to somehow strengthen your core since they re both core exercises. But what’s the real difference between the two of them? Aren’t they basically the same? As it turns out, they’re not. (And if you didn’t know this fact, you’re not alone!) The main difference between the two is that unlike a sit-up, in a crunch, the lower .

With the sit-up, by raising your torso off the ground, you target multiple muscle groups at once, such as your hip flexors, the rectus abdominis (a.k.a. six-pack abs muscles), transverse abdominis (deep core muscles), obliques (side abs), and lower-back muscles. For this crunch exercise, you work exclusively on your rectus abdominis (primarily your upper six-pack).

The best exercise depends on what muscle groups you are targeting. Consider starting by addressing a few questions. Are you trying to find a muscle building exercise that will provide the results you want from just one, or are you looking for an intense exercise routine that isolates specific muscle groups? In either case, sit ups might be your thing. In circumstances that are independent of type or gender, everybody is different. One size can't suit all.

Sit-ups and crunches present two very different advantages. Go through this article to learn more about both methods of exercising.


Do sit-ups really work? That’s a question that has been asked for years, and the answer is still up for debate. Some people swear by the effectiveness of sit-ups, while others say that they are ineffective and provide no real benefits. So, what’s the truth?

There are a few things to consider when looking at the efficacy of sit-ups. First, it’s important to understand that there are different types of sit-ups. There are traditional sit-ups, where you start by lying on your back on the floor and then slowly curl your torso up towards your knees. There are also crunches, which involve curling your torso forward while keeping your back pressed against the floor.

Pros: You're working with *multiple* muscle groups

Sit-ups are a great way for you to work on and sculpt your abs from multiple angles at once, according to Olivia Amato, CPT, a Peloton instructor.

If you're looking to work on your balance, sit-ups are right for you. Why? Sitting straight up engages your balance-focused muscles like your abdominal muscles, hip flexors, legs, back, and neck.

Are you exercising those stabilizing muscles as well? Practicing this will help you build your posture. Amato will help.

Cons: There’s greater risk of injury

Doing sit-ups can enhance one's muscle tone, but this risk is particularly high when employed as a component of a workout regimen. The problem with sit-ups is that it's difficult to do them correctly without rounding the lower back, which can lead to injury in the lower back region. For this reason, teachers must stress to their pupils the importance of avoiding sit-ups to prevent physical injury, she says.

How To Do A Proper Sit-up

Relax on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, as Glazer instructs. Place your fingertips on the back of your ears, elbows bent and pointing down. Then, take a deep breath in, tense your core muscles, and lift your torso off the ground as air is expelled from your lungs, continuing until your chest is near your thighs. It's fine if you don't make it all the way there.

Inhale steadily as you transition back to your starting position and go back to 10 repetitions. Increase your intensity as you feel more comfortable!

Sit-up hack:

However, since I have tables on which to anchor my feet or a workout partner holding them at the ankles to keep my hands busy, I love doing sit-ups. This usually ensures proper form, since I have no need to be concerned about keeping my hands and feet off the ground.


Crunches are a type of abdominal exercise that involve flexing your torso forward while lying on your back. They are one of the most popular exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles.

Pros: They’re veeery simple

Crunches help define and isolate the upper abdominals and are good for counting high reps, according to Amato. I find that crunches are a move I can do continuously because they're a simple, low-impact exercise, she shares. With crunches, you only need to focus on lifting your head and shoulders in the opposite direction of your neck to assist it, so it is easier to get down into the position and work out without feeling pain.

Cons: They *only* target your abdominals

Crunches are superior with regard to sculpting the top of your abs, but that's also where they've their downside.

The difficulty with crunches is that since the hips and legs are not moving, you re not engaging the lower abs, nor or you flexing the obliques. If you want to strengthen your core, there are plenty of other exercises that will give a better result. (coughing, best abs exercises, coughing)

And PSA:

Amato suggests that if you crunch the joints and extend your neck muscles to tear down, you may experience neck pain. Be aware of the purpose and keep them in the heart, not the neck, she asserts. To make the most of this exercise, let your head stay down, but not contact your chest, and avoid pulling your neck up by your hands. Instead, make it stiff in your palms to increase the exercise your abdominal muscles receive.

How To Do A Proper Crunch

To do a crunch, merely lay on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet flat on the ground, as Glazer describes.

Place your fingertips on the back of your ears, elbows bent and pointing out to the side. Take a deep breath in, contract your core muscles, and then lift only your head and shoulder blades from the ground, exhaling as you rise. Inhale as you lower to starting position, Glazer suggests. Get in touch with 10 individuals, and, if you manage to convince them that you're proficient at it, count on making contact with 20 to 30 more.

Crunch hack:

Crunches can sometimes feel repetitive, but when I've done them, I add another turn, pivoting one side of my body to the other to heighten the crunch, or crunch to the rhythm of the song, I point out. Agreed!

Conclusion: Sit-ups and crunches are each beneficial in their own ways.

While both abdominal-strengthening routines can provide benefits, they have their own collection of outcomes and advantages. Assess which exercise is best for you and make time for it. Start slowly and, foremost, have fun!

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