You've Been Doing Sit-Ups Wrong Your Entire Life

Sit-ups are a lot more complicated than you think. As Tony Maloney, a trainer and exercise physiologist at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport in Indianapolis, revealed to Business Insider, "I'm not a huge fan of sit-ups. Reason being, it can cause some spinal problems, especially if they're not done properly." In other words, there's no point in doing them (and putting yourself at risk of injury) if you don't have the proper form.

According to Healthline, there's a good chance you've been doing sit-up wrong your entire life. How you begin this exercise is important, and you should always lie down on your back at first, with your legs bent and feet pressing into the floor. Not only will this support your lower back, but it will also help you keep control. Next, place your hands across your chest, touching the opposite shoulder, or put your hands behind your ears. Then, you need to focus on your breathing as you lift (or sit) up, exhaling as you aim for your knees and inhaling as you return to the starting position. Whatever you do, don't pull on your neck — you should only be working your abs.

If you're trying to strengthen your core, you may be better off doing planks

However, even if you've perfected the art of a sit-up and have worked up the ability to complete multiple in one sitting, they may not actually be the most efficient way of strengthening your core. "When you do a sit-up, of course, you're creating motion," Maloney told Business Insider. "I prefer things that stop motion. So planks are what we consider an anti-extension exercise." 

And Heather Milton, a senior exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Health, agreed, adding that another bonus of doing planks is that it works more than just your main abs. She explained, "Not only just the six-pack abs — which is your rectus abdominis — but your transverse abdominis and your obliques." Medical professionals at Harvard Health Publishing are also on the same page. But ultimately, whether you do sit-ups or planks, it's better than not moving your body at all.