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Don't Anchor Your Feet When Doing Sit-Ups

You Asked: Anchor Feet?

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

"Fit, my boyfriend and I do sit-ups together and we take turns holding each other's feet. Someone recently told me we should stop doing that but this is how I learned to do sit-ups in school. What do you think?"
- Sitting Up Sara

Funny, that is how I was told to do sit-ups in school too. Unfortunately, and fortunately for those of us with bad memories, not everything you learned in elementary school still holds true. Here is the problem: anchoring (or locking) your feet under something heavy (such as a your boyfriend or a couch) while doing sit-ups puts most of the work on the hips rather than the abs, so it becomes a less effective ab exercise. What's more? You could hurt your lower back by anchoring your feet because this tends to make us arch our backs, which may create overextension and strain. So instead of sitting on each other's feet, watch each other's form and think about adding something fun into the exercise, such as a medicine ball. My husband and I love to do medicine ball sit-ups together. To learn how to do them,

.

Medicine Ball Sit-Ups for Two: Sit with knees bent, facing one another, about 4 to 6 feet apart. The person with the ball lies back with ball overhead. Bring the ball overhead and throw the ball and contract your abs as you sit up. Aim for just above your partner’s head. As the ball is caught, the partner lowers back to the ground. Now continue to throw back and forth 10-15 times. Be sure to use your abs (not your arms) as you rise up. Repeat the set once more.

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Join The Conversation
lrcaraway lrcaraway 7 years
I want to know if it is bad to put your feet against the wall when doing crunches on a stability ball.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
I remember the days of doing this in gym class...
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I usually do ball crunches, so I don't do the anchor thing, but I do remember in grade school we'd do crunches and have our partner hold our feet.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 7 years
I always wondered about that.
Berlin Berlin 7 years
And some more info....doing crunches is just as effective if not MORE than doing sit-ups:) It's keeping your abs tight and contracted throughout the length of the exercise which usually would be relaxed during parts of the sit-up. So do all kinds of crunches (regular, side, bike, 2 count, 3 count, ones with weights, in/out, overhead arms to legs, just legs, scissors...you get the idea!)
elle86 elle86 7 years
ughh, in middle school they would time us for a minute on how many we could do, and they always killed my back. good info!
smellen smellen 7 years
yup, i agree, without anchoring, you tend to feel it more in the muscles where you should. i was doing this when i was getting back on track, but not that i have built up some muscle, i don't need to anchor my feet anymore.i also never put my hands behind my neck, keep them in front of my chest with one hand clasped around the other in a fist. really forces the body to use the abs completely for the movement.
smellen smellen 7 years
yup, i agree, without anchoring, you tend to feel it more in the muscles where you should. i was doing this when i was getting back on track, but not that i have built up some muscle, i don't need to anchor my feet anymore. i also never put my hands behind my neck, keep them in front of my chest with one hand clasped around the other in a fist. really forces the body to use the abs completely for the movement.
shelleybaby32 shelleybaby32 7 years
I knew it! I was just discussing this with my husband and he said it was the best way...oh, i can't wait to show him this. AND they did teach us this in elem ed.
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