The Same or Different?
Many people know that sit ups or crunches are all effective exercises for getting your abdominal area in good physical shape. However, many believe that these two are actually different only because their names differ. This is simply incorrect. Therefore, people who do not know the difference spend their exercising time focusing just on one of these two without knowing the benefits of the other one. Nevertheless, any fitness or sports instructor will tell you that these two are in no means the same. Rather, they differ in many aspects, and are extremely effective when combined together.
First of all, in order to notice the difference, one must describe both physical activities separately first. Therefore, when it comes to doing sit ups, your beginning position is lying on your back with your legs bent at a 90 degrees angle. Starting from this position, one is to raise his or her upper part of the body up to the thighs. It is extremely important one does not move any other parts of his or her body, especially, not those remaining on the floor. After raising the torso, you start doing absolutely the opposite, slowly returning it to its lying state. This single, reversible motion is called a sit up.
The abdominal crunches, on the other hand, differ from the exercise emphasis and the position of the hands. Namely, the starting position is almost the same, except your arms are either crossed over your chest or bent behind your neck while with sit ups, they are raised in line with your feet. This, apparently minor, change has plenty to do with the exercise efficiency, since sit up places more emphasis on the lower back while crunches concentrate on the shoulders and the upper torso.
If one is to consider the overall efficiency between the two, taking into consideration the amount of calories burnt, sit ups would win. All in all, this exercise strains the body more, but, at the same time it can cause more damage to the back than crunches do. Therefore, crunches are much safer, since sit ups, being more aggressive and requiring more from your body, can damage your spine or lower abdomen muscles.
Crunches, on the other hand, can hardly cause you harm. Finally, both exercise need to be done slowly and carefully, without sudden movements or excessive speed, in order to rule out any possible damage due to overstraining. Nevertheless, both exercises are good when balanced and combined with running or similar recreational activities.