If you're going to do sit-ups, let's do them properly. There's a plethora of ab exercises far better than sit-ups yet when someone says ab exercises sit-ups are usually the first exercise listed.
My problem with sit-ups is that if you feel your legs and hip flexors then eventually, at some stage, you will experience some form of lower back pain, why? well, you're going to have to watch this quick 3 minute video I did with BASIC anatomy explained!
This is pretty much what I say in the video for those who just want to read it!
Firstly, your psoas major (as you can see here) attaches to your lumbar spine and feeds through to your hip flexor which attaches to the femur. Your hip flexor is where the hip crease is. Now, if you’ve ever experienced some form of back pain after, maybe not immediately but some stage after doing sit-ups. The reasons is because when the hip flexor muscles are too strong or too tight, they can ‘tug’ on the lower spine, which can create low back discomfort.
So, strong glutes, or at least being able to engage your glutes have benefits here. If you can engage your glutes and hamstrings you will lessen the load on your HF, quads maybe and definitely your back.
As you can see here I’m using a resistant band, wrapping it around something sturdy and low to the ground. I place my feet in and pull against that band until tension is created and I can feel the back of legs.
Creating this tension with the bands means I’m now using the glutes and hamstrings, which means the quads and hip flexors will be off.
You can do a full sit-up if you like, or simply crunch low. If you do do a full sit-up please be sure to come up with each vertebrae off the floor slowly instead of using momentum.
Momentum is a tell-tale sign of lack of core control and definitely not beneficial for engaging abs.