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Situps are the first exercise that comes to mind when you want to work your abdominals. This basic equipment-free move is effective on strengthening, toning and tightening the core muscles that connect and support the rest of your body. If you're looking to change up your workout a little or add some intensity, try doing inverted, or incline, situps.
The Basic Move
An inverted or incline situp is performed on an incline bench that places your body at an angle with your feet above your head. Sit on the bench and brace yourself with your hands so you don't slide before you get your feet into position. Slide your feet under the foot supports at the top of the bench and lie back, keeping your knees bent. Put your hands under your neck or rest them lightly at the sides of your neck. Lift your upper body up, bringing your elbows to your knees, then lie back until your shoulders are on the bench. That constitutes one rep. You can perform sets of numbered reps or you can go until failure.
Why Situp Inverted?
An inverted situp is essentially the same as a regular situp, so you might wonder why make the switch at all. They both target the rectus abdominis, or the middle front of your stomach. But when you do an inverted situp, gravity is adding resistance to the move, giving you a more intense workout for your abs.
Varying the technique when you perform an incline situp will add another degree of intensity and, depending on how you vary it, can target different muscles. When you do a weighted incline situp, you'll hold a weight plate either on your chest or behind your head as you execute the move. And to give your obliques some attention, try an incline twisting situp by alternately touching your right elbow to your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee. You can incorporate adding weight to the twisting situp by holding a small weight plate behind your head as you complete the move.
Personal trainer Matt Siaperas cautions that the inverted situp can be hard on your neck and lower back, especially if those are problem areas for you due to injury or weakness. He always counsels his clients to be aware of their form to assure that they are executing the exercise correctly to avoid hurting themselves. He says you can always adjust the angle of the bench down for less of an incline to make the move easier on your body.