doing 1000 sit-ups a day
Fitness

Doing 1000 Sit-Ups a Day: Yes or No?

Getting a flat stomach is the obsession of many people. In their quest to rid their waistline of flab, some people are willing to exert a lot of effort. Doing one thousand sit-ups every day is one of the most extreme methods I’ve come across. So, how effective is it? In this article, I’ll examine the pros and cons of doing 1,000 sit-ups a day.

Will 1000 Sit-Ups a Day Lose Stomach Fat?

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The main reason that people do a thousand sit-ups a day is to whittle down their stomach fat and reveal a six-pack. So, will pumping out hundreds of crunches or sit-ups every day achieve that goal?

The short answer is no, it will not!

That’s because you cannot spot reduced body fat. In other words, you can’t do an exercise for a part of the body and expect to lose weight from that area. The fat that covers your abs is the result of excess caloric intake and is nothing more than stored energy. The only way to reduce your body fat levels is to create a caloric deficit so that the body is forced to burn off that stored energy. 

To create the energy deficit required to burn off body fat, you should eat fewer calories and burn off more calories through cardio exercise. Sit-ups are not a cardio exercise because it does get you puffing, requiring a greater intake of oxygen. Sit-ups are an anaerobic exercise where your rectus abdominis muscle is working against the gravity and the resistance of your own body weight.

Sit-ups will strengthen your core strength. But they will do nothing to get rid of the layer of fat that is covering your abdominals. 

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So, we’ve established that doing a thousand sit-ups a day will not help you to lose stomach fat or get a six-pack.  But there’s more – it could actually be harmful to your health. Here are four reasons why you should not do 1000 sit-ups (or even 100 sit-ups) per day.

Lower Back Strain

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As a result of our sedentary lifestyle, which often involves long hours hunching over a computer screen, many of us already suffer from lower back problems. Doing countless sit-ups a day will only make that problem worse. 

When you do a sit-up, the upward pull of the body from the floor places a lot of strain on the erector spinae muscles of the lower back. The constant arching and compression that the lower back undergoes in the process of doing a thousand sit-ups can result in major lower back pain.

Sit-ups also create dangerous spinal flexion. When you come all the way up on a sit-up to bring your elbows up to your knees, you are lurching your spinal discs forward in an unnatural way. This can lead to excess spinal compression. Over time, this can result in long-term lower back pain.

It has been shown that, as you come off the floor in a sit-up movement, you are putting around 3,300 newtons of pressure on your erector spinae muscles and your spine itself. This compressive pressure could result in the discs crushing nerves, leading to a herniated disc.

Pregnancy Complications

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From what we’ve covered so far, it should be obvious that sit-ups are not a good idea for anyone. However, they are especially problematic for women who are pregnant. On top of all the lower back problems we have already discussed, doing a thousand sit-ups daily will lower the blood pressure of pregnant women. This will have the effect of reducing the flow of blood to the fetus. As a result, the child may not be getting the oxygen and nutrient supply that it otherwise could.

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In addition, pregnant women have enough back strain from being pregnant. The last thing they need is the added pressure on their spine and erector spinae that comes from doing sit-ups.

Results in Bad Posture

Many people suffer from poor posture as a result of lifestyle habits. There are some very good exercises that you can do to help correct poor posture. Sit-ups will not do that. In fact, they will do the opposite. The lifting portion of the sit-up movement encourages rounded shoulders. The lower back issues that we’ve already spoken about can also make your posture problems worse. 

Over Exertion Injury

The sit-up is one of those ego exercises that people tend to push themselves to do more of than they should. If you are doing a thousand sit-ups every day, you will definitely fall into the category of over-exertion. When you are in this zone, it is very easy to make a wrong move, turn in slightly the wrong way, or over-extend your torso. Doing so can result in an injury that could put you out of action for a long time.

If you do your thousand sit-ups daily routine at the end of a long day, the risks of over-exertion injury are even greater.

Conclusion

Doing 1000 sit-ups a day is not a good idea. It will not achieve the goal of listing stomach fat or developing six-pack abs. While it will make your abdominal muscles slightly stronger, that increased strength will come at the cost of potentially serious lower back problems. 

Instead of doing a thousand sit-ups every day, you should work your abs with cable crunches as a regular workout a couple of times per week for six sets. Keep your rep range between 30 and 15, increasing the weight and lowering the reps one each sit. Then do 3-4 sessions of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get rid of excess body fat around your midsection. Compound exercises will also help you lose weight. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I lose belly fat by doing sit-ups every day?

No, sit-ups will not help you lose belly fat. To do that you need to be doing cardio exercise that actually burns off excess calories. 

Are sit-ups a good exercise?

No, the sit-up is not a very good exercise. It places too much strain on the lower back and can compromise your posture. A far more effective abs exercise you should do is a weighted cable crunch.

What is the best exercise for abs?

The best stomach exercise for abs is the seated cable crunch, where you are facing away from the cable machine. Do 5-6 sets of 15-30 reps of this great abdominal exercise.

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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