We asked an expert.
There are endless workout moves out there that promise to make your abs strong, sculpted, and perfectly toned. But with so many options, it’s tough figuring out which are the most effective. Of course, most abs moves are going to do something positive for your core, but if you’re really determined to get those six-pack abs, which moves will get your there faster? To get some answers, we decided to ask a professional to take us through the pros and cons of two of the basics: situps and v-ups.
Albert Matheny, R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab and advisor to Promix Nutrition says he recommends v-ups over situps when it comes to building up an overall toned stomach. That’s because v-ups are better for targeting all your abs muscles, including your lower abs and obliques.
Standard situps, on the other hand, will work your abs, but they tend to have more of a focus on your upper abs, he says. And incorporating too many situps into your routine can actually be an issue as the move “reinforces an overly forward neck position, shortened abdominal muscles, and tighter hip flexors,” Matheny explains.
Still, when it comes to v-ups, most people don’t have the flexibility, strength, or coordination to perform them correctly, says Matheny. That’s typically due to tight hamstrings and/or weak abs. So in order to do this move correctly, and make sure you get the most out of it, Matheny recommends you start with hollow-body holds as a progression to get to v-ups. To try a hold, lie on your back on the floor, with your arms by your sides. Slowly lift your legs, chest, and head up off the floor, keeping arms and legs straight. Then hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
The verdict: For stronger abs, v-ups are your best bet. Just be sure you can handle the move without compromising your form. And for more details on how to do each move, check out the below:
How to do a situp: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Raise your torso to a sitting position. Slowly lower your torso to the starting point.
How to do a v-up: Lie faceup on the floor with your legs and arms straight. In one movement, lift your torso and legs as if you’re trying to touch your toes. Lower your body back down.