How to Do Reverse Sit Ups Properly

The reverse sit ups, also known as the reverse crunch, is an excellent core-strengthening workout that targets the lower abdominals.

Unlike regular sit ups, reverse sit ups are performed with legs raised off the floor. Your torso stays on the mat as you squeeze your abs to move your legs towards your chest.

This exercise trains the full length of the rectus abdominis down to your lower abs. T

his workout is versatile and easy, and can be included in abdominal and core strengthening workouts to complement the total body workout.

Also known as: Reverse Crunches

Targeted Muscles: Rectus Abdominis (abs)

Exercise Mechanics: Isolation

Exercise Type: Bodybuilding

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Required Equipment: Mat (Optional)


  • Place the mat on the floor.
  • On the mat, lie facing up and bend your knees at a 90- degree angle and plant your feet on the floor.
  • Stretch your arms on your sides and ensure your palms are facing down.
  • Breath out and brace your core. Raise your feet off the ground and lift up your thighs until they are vertical. Maintain your knees bent at a 90-degree angle all through the workout.
  • Curl your knees towards your face to the maximum without raising your middle back off the mat. Ensure your lower back and hips are off the floor.
  • Pause at that position for a few seconds then gradually return your feet to the ground.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions and increase the number of reps as you perfect your technique.


  • Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Ensure you raise your feet and lower back completely off the floor. Only your mid back should remain in contact with the floor.
  • Drive into the ground with your palms to help you keep steady.

Up for a challenge?

You can experiment with the combined crunch, which combines both shoulder and leg movement in one drill. This exercise will also train your rectus abdominis and obliques located at the sides of the abdomen.


Reverse sit ups primarily target the transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis- the outer six pack muscles and the core muscles.

The rectus abdominis is a strap-shaped muscle located along the middle of your abdomen, starting from your ribcage down to your pelvis. Reverse sit ups target the lower part of the rectus abdominis.

The transverse abdominis is located deep beneath the two muscle layers that are located along your abdomen, from the ribcage towards your pelvis. Toning this muscle as well as the obliques will slim your waistline.



Reverse sit ups are easy to set up. All you need to perform this workout is the technique and your own body weight. This means that you can do them at your convenience, wherever you are, whenever you want to.


Research has proven over time that reducing your spine arch reduces the tension on your spinal discs. Reverse sit ups bend your spine less, and are therefore easier on your spine and back. This will minimize the likelihood of spinal and back injuries.


Reverse sit ups have a pot in many core workout routines because their main target is the lower abs, which are difficult to target with other core exercises. The drill works your rectus abdominis, which are responsible for your trunk and spine flexion.


Many people tend to jut their necks forward with their hands when doing regular crunches and sit ups. When doing the reverse sit ups, you will be keeping your head on the ground as you perform this exercise and positioning your neck out of a risky position.



The jack knife pullover is an excellent reverse sit up alternative that you can perform in your home or at the gym. You can execute this exercise by holding a load either in your arms, feet or both.

If you want to feel this workout in your upper abs more, hold the load only with your hands.

If you want to feel the tension more in your lower abs, hold the load with your feet. You can also make the exercise a total cable crunch by holding the weight by your hands.


  • Place a mat on the floor and on it, lie with your back facing upwards. Stretch your arms straight above your head and bend your knees slightly. Ensure your lower back is in contact with the ground.
  • Move your arms and legs together simultaneously and curl your abs. Gently raise your upper back off the floor.
  • Bend your knees more as your arms and your legs near each other and move your arms close to the shins.
  • When you reach the top of the rep, slowly move hack down and resume the starting position in a slow and controlled motion.



As a beginner, it is actually tempting to rush the movement and use momentum to curl up your body instead of contracting your abs.

Correct this by slowing the motion and performing the exercise in a controlled fashion.

If you notice you can not raise your legs towards your chest without using momentum, it is an indicator that you need more ab strengthening exercises.


As you return downwards, ensure you don’t roll way far such that your knees end up in front of your hips.

If you are following the correct technique, you should be able to control the motion and stop where necessary.

But if you cannot slow or control the motion, you might find yourself dropping your body instead. This is an indicator that you need more ab strengthening workouts before you settle for reverse sit ups.


When you are commencing the upward motion, ensure you raise only your tailbone and your hip. When you lose much contact with your back, stop.

You are likely to benefit more if you do reverse sit ups in rather a slow and controlled fashion instead of using momentum and rushing the motion.


The reverse sit up is an ideal core exercise that you can perform to strengthen your abdominals. It is recommended since puts lesser stress on your spinal discs compared to other core strengthening exercises.

Do not perform the exercise if you have existing back problems. If you feel any sharp pain when working out, terminate the workout immediately.

If you are a beginner, work with a certified trainer to start and advance the exercise gradually as you perfect your technique.

Give it a try!