Sit-Up Circuit: Can You Finish This Ab Workout?

As I condition my body daily in the gym, I find myself speaking probably when I shouldn't. I find it frustrating that people do so many crunches and abdomen exercises inappropriately. Learn how to practice proper form with my sit-up ab circuit!
As I condition my body daily in the gym, I find myself speaking probably when I shouldn't. I find it frustrating that people do so many crunches and abdomen exercises inappropriately.

So I find myself correcting them (and I get strange looks from these poor souls, yet usually they are acquaintances). I just loathe ab workouts when people rush through sloppy crunches, pulling on their necks and not concentrating on the muscle being used, the abs! Please practice good technique through these exercises (or you just may hear some raspy voice yelling at you!)

The Exercises

This workout won't take too long (unless you decide you can't take the burning of muscles tightening, and then allow yourself to stop in between reps!) Time: approximately 15 minutes.

     Exercise 1. The Crunch

Start in a standard crunch position with hands interlaced behind head, lying flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. As you perform each crunch, be sure the shoulder blades leave the ground and that your chin goes up to the sky and does not touch your collar bone.

     Exercise 2. The Hold

As soon as 12 reps have been repeated hold the crunch position, while tightening the abs and maintaining breathing. You can increase difficulty by extending the arms straight above your head and interlacing the fingers (see picture).

     Exercise 3. Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunches follow the hold. Start by straightening the legs up toward the sky (the body is in the letter "L" position) and lifting the hips off the ground. Keep the arms behind the head or in the pretzel twist. If possible, keep the shoulder blades off the ground while simultaneously lifting the hips. Be sure not to swing the legs or move too quickly through these.

     Exercise 4. Changement Rocks

Lower the legs to approximately two inches off the floor. Keep the shoulders off the ground and place the fingertips under your tailbone in a triangle for support. Your body should be in the shape of a boat or banana. Begin to rock gently back and forth (like a boat on water) lifting the upper body, then the lower.
As you rock, squeeze the quad muscles tightly and begin to change the right over left. Right leg (with a rocking motion of the whole body), left leg (with rocking) and back to right equals one rep. In other words, count every other one.

     Exercise 5. Bicycles

Too many times people use this exercise, but don't get the full range of motion necessary to receive maximum benefits. Hands are interlaced behind the head. Reach the left elbow to the right knee, what is important is making sure your lower back stays on the ground and that the left leg straightens leaving only two inches of space from the ground and your heel.
Reverse the exercise with the right elbow to the left knee. Keep a straight extended leg and lift those shoulders off the ground! Right and left side equal one rep.

     Exercise 6. Obliques

These usually top off the circuit. Start lying flight on your back with your arms straight out to the side (forming a "T"). Lift the legs to the sky, bending at the hips. The body is in the "L" position again. Slowly lower both legs simultaneously toward the right arm, forming a 90' angle.
Keep the legs together. Begin to lift the legs to the sky, pass through the "L" and lower the legs to the left arm. You will certainly feel tightening with the oblique muscles. If you have back problems, or want to ease the strain, try bending the knees (although not excessively). Still keep the legs together. They should work together as one unit and should not separate. Right, left and back to right counts as one rep! Yep, count every other one.

The Full Workout

    The Crunch - 12 reps
    The Hold - 12 seconds
    Reverse Crunch - 12 reps
    Changement Rocks - 12 reps
    Bicycles - 12 reps
    Obliques - 12 reps

    Click here for a printable log of this workout!

Once you have made it through one circuit, finish all six exercises two more times! This circuit is meant for a 3x rotation. Remember that diet and cardio exercise is necessary to remove body fat in order to see the muscles that are formed.