Sit-ups vs. crunches: what is the difference?

13 May 2019

Fitness

Have you been wondering what the difference between sit-ups and crunches is? Both seem to be similar exercises, but they do in fact have unique purposes and are wonderful additions to a workout routine. So if you are now thinking whether you’d like to add sit-ups or crunches to your routine, let’s go on to explore what each exercise entails, what the difference is between the two and which exercise is the best.

Let’s first begin by going over how to properly do sit-ups and crunches.

How to do sit-ups

  1. First, lie on the floor facing upwards with your legs bent and hands on your head for support.
  2. Inhale and begin to bring your chest up in the direction of your knees.
  3. Exhale and lower your upper back until it is almost in contact with the floor.
  4. Complete subsequent reps starting from step 2.

Level: 2/5

How to do crunches

  1. First, lie on the floor facing upwards with your legs bent and hands on your head for support.
  2. Inhale and begin to bring your chest up until just before your lower back would lose contact with the ground.
  3. Exhale and return to a position where your upper back is in contact with the floor.
  4. Complete subsequent reps starting from step 2.

Level: 1/5

Sit-ups vs crunches: difference

As we can see, crunches are rated at a lower level than sit-ups. The difference between the two is that crunches directly engage the abdominals, while sit-ups are a multi-muscle exercise, as they work the chest, lower back, hip flexors, and neck in addition to the abdominals.

Form always matters, but it should also be noted that crunches are also less likely to cause injury.

Crunches vs. sit-ups: which is the best?

Overall, both crunches and sit-ups work the abdominals, and develop a stronger core. It is up to you to decide what your priority for the exercise is.

  • If your focus is to build muscles and get abs, crunches are the right choice as they are ideal exercise to strengthen your core.
  • If you would like a well-rounded upper body exercise and are confident with your form, sit-ups are an excellent choice.

Whichever exercise you decide to do, know that as you strengthen your core, you also improve the support your back gets. This leads to greater flexibility and a reduced risk of a back injury, two things you will be more and more grateful for the older you get!

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