4 Easy Steps to a Proper Situp
Ab prep is a wonderful way to engage the deepest layer of abdominals, the transverse abdominus. Ab prep is so versatile that it’s easily modified to be more difficult with the addition of props and equipment. However, bad form can put stress on the cervical spine or fail to actively and effectively engage your core. Proper form creates functional strength that will keep your neck and back healthy. There are some keys components of form that many people miss.
1) Gently support your neck and head.
The hands should be used as a hammock to assist in supporting the weight of the head with the abdominals, rather than the hands bearing all of the weight. Focus on using the abdominals to lift the weight of the head.
2) Lengthen the back of the neck & nod your head.
Before lifting the head from the floor, lengthen the back of the neck like you’re giving yourself a slight double chin. The eyes should gaze towards knees, allowing the chin to be slightly tucked (not jammed). Looking straight up at the ceiling will place unnecessary tension on the neck.
3) Keep a neutral pelvis.
A neutral pelvis is imperative for optimal ab engagement. Allow your lower back to keep its natural curve.
4) Control the ribs.
The abdominals connect the ribs to the pelvis. When you’re laying flat on the mat, be sure your ribs are touching the mat underneath you, not popped or distended towards the ceiling. As you flex your upper body off the floor, work to draw the ribs towards the pelvis with the abdominals. Then as you lower back to the floor work against gravity to control the lengthening of the distance between rib and hips.