How to Get Six-Pack Abs by Doing Sit-Ups

If your abdominal workout isn't doing anything for your flabby stomach, you may not be performing the exercises correctly. Although a regular, old sit-up may help tone and strengthen your abs, doing a range of sit-up modifications may help target every muscle. Doing a few slow, complete repetitions rather than a bunch of hurried crunches may be more effective in zapping the fat and toning your muscles to get the six-pack you've always wanted.

Step 1
Master the traditional sit-up. Lie down on our back on a yoga mat or towel with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Cross your arms across your chest and place your hands on opposite shoulders -- do not put your hands behind your head because you risk straining your neck. Raise your shoulders and head off of the floor, hold the position for three breaths and lower yourself back to the floor, says Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Edward Laskowski in the article "Sit-Ups: OK to Stabilize My Feet?"

Step 2
Use smooth and controlled motions while doing sit-ups, says Stuart Rugg, chairman of the department of kinesiology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, in the "Shape" magazine article "How to Get Flat Abs." Do no more than three sets of 25 repetitions each of any sit-up you do, whether it's a traditional sit-up or a modified version.

Step 3
Dial up the intensity with the yogi sit up, recommends "Fitness" magazine in the article "5-Minute Workout." Sit down on the floor with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Keep your knees together. Lift your feet off the ground until your shins are parallel to the ground. Raise up your hands with your palms up until they are at the level of your knees and your forearms are parallel to your shins. Inhale and count to five as you straighten your knees, then slowly lower your torso and legs toward the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat for a total of 10 times.

Step 4
Work your abdominal muscles twice a week at the most to allow them to heal completely. When your muscles are given time to heal, they can rebuild and become stronger, says Tom Seabourne, director of kinesiology at Northeast Texas Community College in "Shape." If you exercise your abs every day, you will not build any muscle definition because your abs will be too fatigued.

Step 5
Do a more challenging sit-up variation with a stability ball, recommends "Shape" magazine in the article "The Best Ab Exercises." Place a stability ball on the ground and balance your back on the center of the ball as you lean on top of it. Bend your knees and place your feet approximately hip-width apart on the ground. Tighten your butt to put your hips and torso in line with one another. Straighten your arms and lift them both over your head, interlocking your thumbs and placing your palms up toward the ceiling. Use your abs to lift yourself slightly up off the ball -- this will not be a large movement. Lower back to the starting position and repeat 10 to 20 times.

Things You'll Need

  • Yoga mat
  • Stability ball