Strong ab muscles will help you maintain good posture and take a lot of the pressure off your back as you age. The crunch isolates your upper abdominals where sit ups involve the entire abdominal region including the oblique. For strong abs the good-old-fashioned sit up works just fine. Some people think of sit ups as an out-of-date unsophisticated exercise that is bad for you in some way. The truth is that many times a sit up can hurt someone’s back because their core muscles are so weak, that the pressure on the back can lead to pain. If this is the case, doing them on a soft surface can help.

How To Do a Sit Up Correctly

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Feet should be flat on the floor and kept near your rear, so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Either cross your arms in front of your body, making an X by placing each hand on the opposite shoulder, or gently place your fingers on the back of your head.
  4. Relax your body and consciously tighten up your abdominal muscles. To do this, you have to suck your belly button backward, toward your spine and push your lower back until it is flat against the floor.
  5. As you begin the sit up, start by gently elevating your head and shoulders, then raising the top of your back and finally lifting your lower back until you are sitting straight up. Exhale your breath during this part of the sit up.
  6. Keep your torso as straight as possible – at a 45-degree angle with your legs. Hold this position for a moment or two before you begin your descent.
  7. As you descend, slowly return yourself back to the floor, starting with your lower back, then your upper back, and finally your shoulders and head. Inhale your breath as you lower yourself into your starting position.

Complete your inhale and relax your body for a moment before repeating.