Crunches vs Sit Ups

Crunches vs Sit Ups: which Should you do? Which exercise is better for weight loss, muscle growth, and strength? This article discusses some of the differences between these two types of activities related to health and fitness.  Fitness Hack Truth – Just Do 100 Sit Ups A Day?

Crunches vs Sit Ups Comparison

Sit Ups

Sit-ups focus on flexion and extension of the spine, while crunches use rotational movements. Sit-ups have been shown to have a greater impact on abdominal muscles than crunches since they use heavier weights than crunches. However, some researchers argue that the two exercises influence hip flexor muscles differently. It’s essential to recognize that abdominal muscles are just part of the larger musculature system.

A sit-up is a basic chest press in which you support your body weight on your hands and extend your legs straight out behind you, then lower yourself back to the floor with half or the full range of motion (depending on how you perform them) by flexing and extending at your hips. Chest presses with heavy weights or where your feet are on the floor are good for increasing the strength of your chest muscles.

When performed correctly, sit-ups are effective for people with a long back who may have difficulty with hip flexion because of the laws of leverage. The lower part of your hips has to move forward to perform sit-ups. This can negatively affect the joints and muscles in your abs if you rely on it heavily. Therefore many fitness experts suggest using a chair for sit-ups as it helps support your weight and prevents the bad form from occurring due to longer lever effects at the hips.


On the other hand, crunches are a combination of rotational and flexion and extension movements of the spine that focus more on the abdominal muscles. Crunches involve flexion and extension of your trunk and rotation around your neck and shoulders. Both exercises effectively strengthen abs, though abdominal muscles may be targeted in different ways as described below.

Crunches, however, may be more effective for people with short torsos, as this exercise is more controlled and allows for better flexion at the hips. This is because you rest your entire body weight on your feet and can pull up further at the hips than with sit-ups. Crunches are also easier for people with shorter arms than sit-ups, which require people to hold their hands underneath their backs or around their heads to perform them.

The more you lift your legs during crunches, the greater the stress on the hip flexor muscles. The hip flexor muscles help support our movements and keep our hips mobile. If these muscles are overworked or injured from exercises like crunches, it may impair your ability to move and cause chronic pain or other injuries in your body.

Sit Ups vs Crunches – Muscle Targeting

Sit-ups target smaller abdominal muscles than crunches. This lets more weight to be lifted with sit-ups, which can help increase the strength of your abdominal muscles. Crunches are easier for people with short torsos to perform.  Also, crunches may be better for people with shorter arms than sit-ups, which require longer lever arms at the shoulders and elbows. This exercise focuses on flexion and extension of your spine rather than rotation, making it good for stability in your trunk.

4 Best Sit Up Alternatives and How To Do Them

There are a number of sit up and crunches variations.  Below are four of the best sit up alternatives and how to do them.

1. Roman chair sit-ups

Roman chair sit-ups is a form of sit-ups in which you lift your torso up from a Roman chair. It’s a simple and effective way of increasing the intensity of your abdominal muscles and improve your upper and lower back strength, core stability, and strength.

How To Do

Place your hands behind your head with elbows pointed out and shoulder-width apart. Place your feet on the exercise ball with both legs stepping out with one foot at a time. Position the ball so that it is under the arch of each foot or flat on the floor. Make sure that you are tall enough to sit up completely without touching your back to a wall. Place your arms close to your sides with elbows bent at 90 degrees for a variation.

2. Decline sit-ups

Decline sit-ups, also called decline pushups or crunches, involve hanging from a bar over a decline bench. You can perform decline exercise with your feet firmly planted on the floor or with your feet elevated on an exercise ball. When performing decline sit-ups, make sure to maintain proper form and use a bench at least 18 inches high so that you don’t hit your head on the bottom of the bench when in the down position.

How To Do

Lie on a decline bench and place your hands shoulder-width apart a little closer than shoulder-width apart.

Position your feet on the floor, or place them on an exercise ball like traditional sit-ups. When you reach down to grab your knee, you are not bending at the waist and keeping a slight arch in your back throughout the movement, but instead reaching with an overhead reach (picture standing up in a squat position until your arms are extended overhead). As you return to the start position, make sure not to let your back arch.

3. Butterfly sit-ups

Butterfly sit-ups focus on your chest and triceps. These sit-ups are performed in the same position as traditional sit-ups, lying face down.  But, instead of placing your hands behind your head, you place them across your chest. Using either a decline bench or an exercise ball, you can perform this exercise.

How To Do

Lie on a decline bench or exercise ball so that your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Perform sit-ups as you would normally, but instead of having your hands behind your head, try to reach your hands up toward the ceiling.

4. Weighted Sit-ups

Weighted sit-ups are performed in the same position as standard sit-ups, but the weight is placed between your legs. The goal is to lift your body from the decline bench with a straight back. Keep your shoulders down and your abs contracted as you lift yourself up.

How To Do

Lie on a decline bench or exercise ball with upper-body support underneath you for safety. Place your hands behind your head with elbows pointed out and shoulder-width apart. Place a weight plate between your feet. Perform sit-ups as you would normally, but instead of having your hands behind your head, try to reach your hands up toward the ceiling and lift yourself up using only your abs.



The more you pay attention to your body and how you treat it, the better off you are. Treating yourself to the gifts of fitness and nutrition and loving your body enough to honor it with these things will make a difference in how you feel about yourself. To succeed in health and fitness journey, one must first love themselves fully, beginning with taking care of yourself.


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