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Emily Mattes 07-12-2008 03:14 PM

The Functionality of the Sit-Up
Why are sit-ups used at all in WODs? It is my understanding that they're not particularly functional for developing serious core stability or explosiveness, and the back issues they cause with some people may actually make them detrimental. Wouldn't employing more explosive or stabilizing movements, like tornadoes or L-sits, be more useful? I have talked with serious MMA practitioners who exclude sit-ups entirely, even doing very heavy standing cable crunches instead.

I'm excluding GHDs from this, which seem to be a very different breed.

Francisco Menendez 07-12-2008 03:22 PM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
How do you suppose I get out of bed in the morning besides sitting up?

I guess I could roll over and fall out of bed, that might be functional.

Elliot Fuller 07-12-2008 03:56 PM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
Seems to me that it's pretty rare that we get a WOD that actually rx's just regular sit-ups. But in the even that we do, I still think they're a pretty solid metcon activity, whether they're GHD or not.

The up-down motion tires me out pretty quickly after a few rounds. You're right though; I feel that I get a lot more done as far as strength goes when I do stuff like L-sits than when I do pull-ups. But it's kind of hard to do L-sits or L pull-ups at super high intensity; I can do sit-ups much quicker.

So I dunno...

Shane Skowron 07-12-2008 04:34 PM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
What's a better way of getting out of the supine position than a situp?

John Filippini 07-12-2008 08:24 PM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
(Whoops, this is Emily posting, I was using my friend's computer and forgot to log out of his account!)

Right, but do you place priority on being able to sit up without assistance like Frankenstein rising from the table over core stability and strength when doing lifting, running, moving about, and explosive moves that come from the core (such as during a fight)? Seriously, do you argue that the abdominals and lower back are more useful for a forward contracting motion than for providing general stabilization and assistance for other movements?

And even L-sits and the other exercises I mention will build the strength capacity to do a freakin' sit-up in the morning.

I think the "sitting up from bed in the morning" example is disingenuous . . . I could argue bicep curls are functional because I do them to pick up a grocery bag.

Casey Raiford 07-12-2008 09:11 PM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
I do them religiously. Bad physiology, minimal benefit and all that; simply because they're part of the PFT I have to take twice year. They blow.

Christian Gotcher 07-13-2008 10:03 AM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
I definitely agree with Casey- being part of our PRT, I really don't have a choice.

Still, take the variations on the situp, such as the exercise where a partner throws a medicine ball at you and you sit-up the ball back to them. Also, there is a partial use of the sit-up in other exercises like the Turkish Get-Up. Not to mention, and here's the real kicker, the sit-up is great for scaling. Most people can do a situp. There are many people who simply cannot support themselves on their arms long enough to do a decent L-Sit, especially at the beginning of training. Trying to help people adjust their PT programs at school, I've found that the basic PT exercises (situps, pushups, squats, and running), are always a good foundation to go back to.

Shane Skowron 07-13-2008 10:23 AM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
A bit off topic, but I'm wondering what is the functionality of the knees-to-elbows exercise. It works the core for sure, but is it more functional than the situp?

Jared Ashley 07-13-2008 10:50 AM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up

Originally Posted by Shane Skowron (Post 349164)
A bit off topic, but I'm wondering what is the functionality of the knees-to-elbows exercise. It works the core for sure, but is it more functional than the situp?

Ha! actually it does have some functionality... grip stregnth, since that's the first point of failure on KTE for many of us, and I'd argue it has some carryover to climbing, and to some basic gymnastics. But other than grip, not much we'd do in daily life.

Regarding the sit-up, it's hard to say it's "functionality". I just don't buy "getting out of bed". But I think sometimes we get a bit too caught up in making sure everything is "functional". I mean seriously, will somebody please describe to me a situation where you need to get a very heavy object off the floor and launch it above your head in a single motion and catch it in a deep squat with your arms spread wide (i.e. Snatch).

The sit-up targets some muscles that are tough to target (abs, hip flexors). Yeah, you'll get more from an L-sit, KTE, TGU, tuck lever... but those moves are all pretty advanced and most people can't do them. The sit-up helps build some of the strength you'll need to do more intense core work.

Brandon Oto 07-13-2008 11:07 AM

Re: The Functionality of the Sit-Up
Think of situps as hip flexors rather than core.

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