9. Sit-Up Variations Intermediate-Advanced PREVIOUS NEXT  
sit-up variations  
 

A number of intermediate and advanced sit-up or crunch variations are possible, once you master the basic sit-ups exercises. Three key variations are presented here: the bridge crunch, the cross-crunch, and the scissor crunch. All these variations intensively work a broad range of muscles, including those of the mid-body.

BRIDGE CRUNCH
To do a bridge crunch, begin with your back flat on the ground, knees bent, feet together and flat on the ground, elbows bent and hands in fists at the side of your head, head straight and facing up (Figure 42). Next, gently lift your head and shoulders off the ground and toward your knees, keeping your chin off your chest and face titled upward for optimal muscular alignment (Figure 43). Hold this position for at least a moment and then reverse your movement, returning to your original starting position for a moment (Figure 42). Next, lift your hips in the air as high as you comfortably can while maintaining good form and alignment, keeping your feet, arms, head, and shoulders on the ground (Figure 44). Hold this position for at least a moment and then reverse your movement, returning to your original starting position for a moment (Figure 42). This completes one bridge crunch. Continue this exercise without stopping, alternating and doing an equal number of crunches and bridges, until you are moderately winded or about a minute, whichever comes first, to complete the set. Do 1-3 sets of bridge crunches. Work to develop your strength so that you can do the cross-crunch and scissor crunch.

CROSS-CRUNCH
To do a cross-crunch, begin with your back flat on the ground, knees bent, feet together and flat on the ground, elbows bent and hands in fists at the side of your head, head straight and facing up (Figure 42). Next, bring one knee toward you while straightening and pointing the other leg and lifting that leg slightly off the ground, and gently lifting your head and shoulders off the ground and bringing the opposite shoulder toward your bent knee. Keep your chin off your chest and face titled upward for optimal muscular alignment (Figure 44). Hold this position for at least a moment and then reverse your position in a single fluid movement, so that the opposite knee is bent, the other leg is straight and pointed, and the other shoulder is brought toward the new bent knee, while making sure your legs and shoulders to not touch the ground during this cross-over movement (mirror image of Figure 44). Hold this opposite position for at least a moment. This completes one cross- crunch. Continue this alternating movement, without returning your shoulders and legs to the ground, until you are moderately winded or about a minute, whichever comes first. When you are ready to finish, return to your original starting position (Figure 42) to complete the set. Do 1-3 sets of cross-crunches. For variations, change the speed of your cross-over movements and the duration that you hold each crunch, so the exercise ranges from a series of long crunch holds and slow change-overs all the way to a fairly fast cycling movement. Cross-crunches are a terrific intermediate mid-body conditioning exercise that can help to prepare you for the advanced scissor crunch.

SCISSOR CRUNCH
To do a scissor crunch, an advanced exercise, begin with your back flat on the ground, knees bent, feet together and flat on the ground, elbows bent and hands in fists at the side of your head, head straight and facing up (Figure 42). Next, raise one leg up so that it is straight and perpendicular to the ground, while extending the other leg out so that it is straight and flat on the ground (Figure 46). Then, while maintaining good overall form and bodily alignment, gently bring your head and shoulders off the ground and toward your upright knee, keeping your chin off your chest and face tilted upward for optimal muscular alignment (Figure 47). Hold this position for at least a moment if you can and then reverse your movement, returning to your previous position for a moment (Figure 46). Quickly switch your leg position (the mirror image of Figure 46) and then repeat the crunch, this time bringing your head and shoulders toward the new upright knee for a moment (mirror image of Figure 47) and then reverse your movement to your previous position (the mirror image of Figure 46). This completes one scissor crunch cycle. Reverse you legs and continue this exercise, alternating sides each time without stopping until you are moderately winded or about a minute, whichever comes first. When you are ready to finish, return to your original starting position (Figure 42) to complete the set. Do 1-3 sets of bridge crunches. Work to develop your strength so that you can hold the very challenging scissor crunch while keeping good overall form and alignment. For variations, you can change the speed of the exercise, and you can repeat the crunches on one side in a half set before switching to exercise the opposite side for an equal number and intensity of repetitions.