Sit ups/anatomy question?

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by JayCam, Oct 9, 2007.

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  1. Right, this is not a "I have selection next week and I can only do 6 sit ups" post: I can do 50 in 2 mins no drama so its just out of interest that I post.

    When I have done 40-50 sit ups with my feet under something or held down, my upper legs start to ache like hell! I dont really mind as I can still do the right number but it is driving me up the wall trying to figure out what exactly is happening here?

    Is it the quads, hip flexors or what that is being overworked? Whatever it is it is these muscle that always go first, if I didnt have this "problem" I think I could quite easily do 80 or 90 sit ups in the 2 minutes period as my abs always feel fresh after the test, just my legs are aching.

    Any physios, PTIs etc.. any idea what is going on?

  2. Can't help you with an answer mate. Just to say I get the exact same thing always wondered why Thought it was just because I was rubbish!
  3. I dont think its because you/we are rubbish lol. I have strong abs and can bang out 100 or so crunches with no drama when my feet are NOT anchored. I always thought it should be easier with feet enchored but not so!

  4. if your feet are anchored your hip flexors are brought into play. To take then out of the equation try putting your feet on a chair with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees so your hip flexors are contracted
  5. Ah so it is the hip flexors then! I thought it might be the quads, apparently not so!

    So the 99p question is... how do I strengthen my hip flexors? Any exercises you can suggest? I dont have access to a gym: Im doing it the old fashioned way lol.

  6. Not being stupid, but if you continue to do the sit-ups like you are, you will work the hip flexors and then they will get stronger. :D

    I don't know of any specific workouts for the hip flexors though, sorry.

    EDIT: Workout Site!

    Or try here! :D
  7. Haha yes of course! I was looking for a way to target them more though! Cheers for the link, good site by the look of it, added to my book marks!

  8. i was always tought that if you feel that in your legs its because you are putting the force thru your legs and so not doing the exersice correctly, i have always (with the exception of mil training) done situps with out anything holding my feet my own control and i have never had the problems you discuss when doing the pft or otherwise so maybe this is something you could try.

    but then i'm shit at pt and have only in the last year or so been able to pass the PFT.

  9. I always thought you were better off doing elbow to knee sit ups:
    Lie on your back hands next to your ears.
    Raise your torso and left knee simultaneously.
    Twist and touch your right elbow to your left knee.
    Go back down and repeat touching alternate limbs.

    Do the exercises slowly and hold the touching position for a second or two like a crunch.
    This form of sit up uses the greatest range of muscles and builds strength fast.

    Other people probably have their own favourites but I would suggest only wedging the feet in place if you are doing situps on an incline bench or upside down on a pull up bar - when it becomes a matter of necessity if you don't want a broken neck. :wink:
  10. A good answer, and what I was going to say. Military situps aren't specifically an ab exercise and all the situps in the world won't give you a six pack!
  11. It's just simple mechanics, if your feet are anchored and you are pulling against them, then you'll be using your abs and leg muscles in co-ordination to lift your torso up.

    Technically speaking, your quadriceps femoris are made up of four parts, three of which attach below the hip and solely extend the knee, he fourth (rectus femoris) extends the knee, but attaches to the iliac crest (the plate-like part of the pelvis) and so crosses the hip joint as well. So technically your quadriceps is also a hip flexor, though not uniquely so. If you are feeling the pain down the midline of the thigh, it is likely that this is the rectus femoris being worked.

    The main 'hip flexors' are the Iliopsoas group which originate from the lumbar spine and iliac crest and attach to the top of the femur. They're quite deep and it's unlikely that the pain you feel in your legs is due to them. There are a number of other supporting hip flexors that also have roles in moving the leg sideways and rotating it. It is normally these which get the most painful due to tabbing over rough ground or compensating for other injuries etc. Again it's unlikely that your feeling these.

    So, it is probably your quadriceps (the hip flexing component) that is sore after anchored sit ups. Suggestion...don't anchor your feet, or concentrate on just using your abs and relax your legs. Try doing sit ups slowly, making sure you use your abs more than your legs, or change the position of your legs to 90 degrees as suggested.
  12. Thanks for all the replies especially DocSTAB, very informative!

    Turns out my question was answered last night at brit mil fit! The answer is: thousands of leg raises. Could hardly walk this morning lol.

  13. NO NO! Here's a proper sit up ;)

    Basically just keep yourself flat on the floor, including your legs (doesn't really matter), and just lift up your soldiers. That's sit up 1, do 50 reps.

    Sit up 2 then, just lift yourself off, to about 45%, hold a second, and then back down.

    Your abs and pecs should always feel pretty tense, and you should really feel it working you.

    However, obviously when it comes to "real" sit ups you need to have that big crease in your stomach, but to be fair my methods make you get real abs, and they should really help increase the number of REAL ones you can do, or maybe you can just implement this into your plan too :D Peace out
  14. Hanging leg raises.

    Or alternatively, deadlifts and squats.
  15. Do what I said, the instructions are there and it really works you out. But my question is, will this help me when it comes to doing military sit ups?.. or just improve my core in the sense that i'll have an 8 pack? :p