How To Do The Diamond Sit Up Properly

The diamond sit up, aka the butterfly sit up, is a classic core exercise that uses your bodyweight to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles.

With a higher range of motion, this exercise targets relatively more muscles than most core exercises.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of this gem but before you do, here are the steps you should to follow to do it properly:

  • Put a mat on the floor (optional).
  • Lie on your back on the mat/floor.
  • Form a diamond-like shape with your legs by opening them up, pressing the soles of your feet together and widening your knees. This is the starting position.
  • Extend your arms overhead.
  • Inhale, tighten your core, curl your torso up, and the tap the floor with your hands to stretch the glutes.
  • Slowly, return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
  • Do as many reps as you desire.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE DIAMOND SIT UP WORK?

The diamond sit up is specifically designed for your core.

It uses your bodyweight to strengthen and tone your entire core, starting from your rectus abdominis, through your transverse abdominis to your obliques.

Aside from your core, this exercise also strengthens your upper back, which you move as you lie on the floor and curl your torso back up.

Your glutes also get a bit of the action when you reach out to tap the floor with your hands in the second phase of the exercise.

DIAMOND SIT UP BENEFITS

INCREASES CORE STRENGTH

The diamond sit up tones, tightens and strengthens your core muscles, thereby increasing your core strength.

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

With a stronger core, you will find it so much easier to perform intense sports or physical activities.

You will also be less likely to experience fatigue as you perform these activities.

BALANCE AND STABILITY

A strong core will keep your body well balanced and stable as you go about your daily activities. The muscles in your core help your lower back muscles, hip muscles and pelvis work together to stabilize your body.

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY

This exercise requires that you lean backward and straighten your spine in the first phase.

Moving your spine will help release the tension in your hips and spine, making your entire body more flexible.

Increased flexibility also improves blood circulation, boosts your energy levels and reduces stress.

BETTER POSTURE

Building a solid core keeps your shoulders, spine and hips properly aligned, which helps improve your overall posture.

REDUCES RISK OF BACK PAIN AND INJURY

The diamond sit up also works your lower back and pelvis to give you a more stable lower back.

When your lower back is strong and stable, you will be less likely to experience back pain or injury caused by too much pressure on your spine.

INCREASES MUSCLE MASS

This exercise increases muscle mass in your hips and abdomen.

It also reduces your likelihood of losing muscle mass you grow older, according to a 2016 research on older women.

STRENGTHENS THE DIAPHRAGM

There are studies that reveal that sit-ups strengthen the diaphragm and improve your respiratory function.

Doing a diamond sit up at least once in a while could also improve your athletic endurance, making it easier for you to perform high energy movements.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE DIAMOND SIT UP

PLANK

Although dreaded by most people, the plank is one of the best alternatives to the diamond sit up.

If executed properly, it not only strengthens you core but also your entire body by activating the major muscle groups at once.

Steps:

  • Get into a push up position.
  • Put your feet together, tighten your core and straighten your body. Your hands should be stacked directly under your shoulders.
  • Lower your shoulders towards your feet and engage your lats.
  • Squeeze your glutes and keep your core tight so that your hips don’t sag.
  • Keep your body stable using your core for the specified amount of time.
  • Press your body back up with your feet still together. This is a complete rep.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

The mountain climber is a bodyweight exercise that strengthens your core, adds cardio to your workout and burns your calories as well.

Steps:

  • Assume a push up position.
  • Brace your core, keep your feet together and your body straight.
  • Lift your left foot off the floor and draw the left knee in toward your chest.
  • As you draw the knee in, your back should be flat.
  • Tap the floor with the toes on your left leg.
  • Return your left foot to the starting position.
  • Immediately, draw the right knee in and repeat the steps above.
  • Perform equal reps on both legs.

DIAMOND SIT UP MISTAKES TO AVOID

ROUNDING YOUR LOWER BACK

You should only move your upper back and hips during this movement; never your lower back.

If you feel your lower back starting to round at any point, stop that rep immediately and start afresh.

CRANING THE NECK

Most people tend to bend the neck forward and round the shoulders while curling the torso up.

This can hurt your neck or even worse, cause a muscle strain in your neck or your upper back.

THUDDING ON THE MAT/FLOOR

Beginners may unintentionally bang their backs on the floor during the lowering phase. This often happens when you have a weak core or you are fatigued.

Thudding hurts your upper back and puts unnecessary strain on your lumbar spine.

IN A NUTSHELL

The diamond sit up has a pretty large range of motion that targets more muscle groups in your body compared to static ab exercises.

What’s more, this exercise improves posture, increases your flexibility and enhances your athletic performance, making it easy for you to execute most exercises.

The best part of it all? It requires no special equipment to execute. This means you can do it anywhere, even in your room at home.

With these benefits and the many others discussed in this article, there is no doubt that it makes for a worthy addition to your fitness program.