What Is The Difference Between Sit-Ups and Crunches?

When you exercise, what part of your body do you focus on? Do you target your biceps? Maybe you’re trying to tone your legs. Perhaps you’re not targeting anything and just want to stay active. There’s nothing wrong with trying to enhance one part of your body or simply staying fit. However, there is one part of your body that you can target that will benefit every other area – and that’s your core.

A strong core supports the stability of your entire body. Your core muscles help you improve your balance and reduce your risk of injury while working out and as you grow older. Plus, your core muscles support your spine. Every movement you make, your core is there to support you.

One of the best ways to support your core is by doing sit-ups and crunches. Although the names of these two exercises are used interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same. The key difference between the two is that crunches specifically target ab muscles.

On the other hand, sit-ups work more muscles beyond the core – and for some people, they can be more challenging to do. Learn more about each of these exercises below and use this information to enhance your workout routine!

What are crunches?

Crunches are abdominal exercises with a small range of motion. While doing crunches, your shoulders come up off the ground, but the rest of your back does not. Crunches sculpt the muscles along the sides of your stomach (obliques) and the muscles that make up your six-pack (rectus abdominis).

A big benefit of crunches is that they put less pressure on your spine. This is beneficial for people who have back discomfort or a limited range of motion.

Another big benefit of crunches is that they are very simple to do. Crunches are also easier to do continuously because they are a low-impact exercise.

woman doing crunches

How to do crunches

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor, the same as you would do for a sit-up.
  2. Clasp your hands behind your head without pulling your neck forward.
  3. Inhale and contract your core muscles.
  4. Lift only your head and shoulders from the ground and exhale. Do not pull on your neck.
  5. Hold for about one second and lower yourself back to the ground.
  6. Inhale as you move back to the starting position.

You can repeat this in reps of ten or even set a goal to complete a certain amount.

What are sit-ups?

Sit-ups are an exercise that strengthen your core and other muscles, including your hip flexors. You engage more of your body while doing sit-ups. However, sit-ups push your spine against the floor. This can be painful for people with neck and back issues and aggravate the affected area. Sit-ups can also increase the risk of injury if you have back problems. If you don’t have back or neck pain and want to work more than your abs, sit-ups are a good way to do it.

woman doing sit-ups with help from her daughter

How to do sit-ups

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Clasp your hands behind your head without pulling your neck forward.
  3. Inhale and curl your upper body up and forward until your chest is a few inches from your thighs. You are close to sitting up.
  4. Slowly lower your body back to your starting position while exhaling.

Complete the amount of reps you are comfortable with and do several sets, depending on your ability.

Common mistakes while doing sit-ups and crunches

There are a few mistakes people make while completing sit-ups and crunches. The most common is pulling on the neck or pulling the neck up while completing the rep. This is a mistake that can put unnecessary strain on your spine and neck.

Another common mistake, especially while doing sit-ups, is moving too fast. Sit-ups should be slow and controlled to ensure your abdominal muscles are engaged.

Doing too many crunches or sit-ups can also have a negative impact because you will be in pain from doing too much too soon. Start slow and work your way up to a certain number of reps you want to achieve. A personal trainer can also help you practice the correct form and determine how many reps you should start with.

tired from doing sit-ups

Overall, sit-ups and crunches have similar benefits. They both actively engage and improve strength in your core – one of the most important parts of your body.

Looking for even more fitness and wellness tips? Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to the Teami YouTube channel. Then let us know in comments which exercise you prefer: sit-ups or crunches?

Adi Arezzini

Love,
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach


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