Weighted decline sit ups quite literally torch your core muscles by making you work them from a declined angle where your torso is lower than your thighs and hips.
This positioning makes your body work harder, since your movement patterns work against gravity through a wide range of motion.
To do it properly:
- First, get a decline bench and set it to a decline angle of about 30⁰.
- Sit on the bench with your knees bent and feet tucked under the padded bar.
- Hold a weight plate, medicine ball or dumbbell just above your chest.
- Take a deep breath in and tighten your core.
- Raise your upper body to bring your chest in towards your thighs as you exhale.
- Pause for two or three seconds before lowering your torso to the starting position.
- Do 2-3 sets of 8-18 reps.
WHAT MUSCLES DO WEIGHTED DECLINE SIT UPS WORK?
Weighted decline sit ups strengthen the core muscles around your pelvis, torso and thighs. These include your obliques, rectus femoris and rectus abdominis.
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This exercise also works your chest and back muscles, as well as you hip flexors which help bring in your abdomen towards your thighs as you lift.
BENEFITS OF WEIGHTED DECLINE SIT UPS
BOOSTS CORE STRENGTH
Weighted decline sit ups allow you to progressively overload your core to build core strength gradually over time.
RELIEVES LOWER BACK PAIN
Weak core muscles are among the most common causes of lower back pain.
Working your core can help alleviate or even reduce the risk of experiencing pain in your lower back.
By working your core, you also strengthen your spine which plays a big role in stabilizing the back.
ENHANCES GOOD POSTURE
To have a proper, upright posture, you must have a strong core and a stable lower back, both which this exercise help you achieve.
ALTERNATIVES TO WEIGHTED DECLINE SIT UPS
Although dreaded by many, the basic plank is a sure-fire way to work your entire core with nothing but your own bodyweight.
In addition to your core, it also, to a lesser degree, works your back, legs and upper body.
How to do it:
- Get into a table-top position: knees on the ground, wrists stacked directly under the shoulders, back flat, gaze fixed on the ground.
- Lift your hips and straighten your legs so that your whole body is in a straight line.
- Lengthen the rear side of your neck by tucking your chin into the chest.
- Drive into the ground firmly with your hands and tense all your muscles.
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds before getting back to where you began for another rep.
The side plank is a progression of the basic plank that mainly targets the obliques on the side of your abdomen.
How to do it:
- Get on all fours, with your core tight and eyes on the floor.
- Lift your hips up and extend your legs to get into a basic plank position.
- Then, place your right hand at the centre to align it with your right foot.
- Rotate the left side of your body toward the ceiling.
- Stack your heels by placing the left foot on top of the right one. You can drop the left knee down for extra support if you need it.
- Place your left hand on your hip or stretch it out toward the ceiling with your palm facing up.
- Look toward the ceiling or straight ahead.
- Hold for about 60 seconds and return to where you began.
This is an inversion yoga exercise that targets your core, glutes and back.
To hold it for a longer time, place a yoga block or a cushion under your lower back for extra support.
How to do it:
- Lie on the floor, facing the ceiling.
- Place your feet flat on the floor, with your toes pointed in the direction of your hips.
- Press your palms into the ground at your sides.
- Draw your navel in towards your spine to brace your core.
- Take a deep breath in.
- Begin to lift your tailbone slowly upwards until your hips are at the same level with your knees.
- Tuck your chin in and align your neck with your spine.
- Pause in this position for up to 60 seconds.
- Release slowly by rolling the spine back down to the ground, starting from the top vertebra all the way to the lumbar vertebra.
- Relax your muscles for a moment.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
WEIGHTED DECLINE SIT UPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
NOT TIGHTENING YOUR CORE
When it comes to any exercise that works your core, keeping it tight is the rule of thumb.
For starters, a tight core prevents your hips from sagging which in turn keeps your lower back from overarching.
Secondly, every challenging exercise that demands stability requires that your core remains tight from start to finish, and weighted decline sit ups are no exception.
Lastly and most obviously, this is a core-centric exercise; nothing good can come out of it unless your core remains braced throughout.
USING YOUR LEGS
Your legs should not help you move your upper body at all; every movement should originate only from your core and nowhere else.
Fortunately, most decline benches have a padded bar under which you can tuck your feet to prevent them from moving as you lift your torso.
MOVING WITH SPEED
Weighted decline sit ups depend heavily on time under tension (TUT) for them to have any significant impact on your core muscles.
To maximize the amount of time your muscles spend under tension, use slow and controlled movements as you lift and lower your torso.
USING A HEAVY WEIGHT
The purpose of the weight in this exercise is to increase tension in your muscles which should make the workout more challenging.
This is a great way to maximize your gains, but it could be counterproductive if the weight you are using is too heavy for you.
Use a weight you can comfortably control to reduce the risk of spinal and lower back injury.
Whether you’re looking to boost your core strength or you just want to tone your core to get a to-die-for set of abs, weighted decline sit ups should be your best bet.
Maintain proper form, stay consistent and you could achieve that fitness goal sooner than you expected!