9 Sit-Up Variations to Boost Your Ab Workout

Everyone knows that sit-ups are a great way to strengthen your entire core. As a result of sitting up, you exercise the rectus abdominis, obliques, hips, rectus femoris, tensor fascia lata, as well as neck muscles. This group of muscles maintains the straightness of your body.

However, these types of exercises can get boring, so it is good to switch your core workout routine up.

Strength training is about form and technique, not necessarily frequency. Exercise is challenging to begin with, but once you do it often, your body becomes accustomed to it. Therefore, it’s crucial to change your routines periodically and switch sets. Try some of its variations if sit-ups aren’t giving you the results you want.

In this blog, I list some of the best sit-up variations you can do to avoid the monotony of repetitive exercises.

different types of sit-ups without equipment

You can perform various variations with sit-ups, turning the classic move into a more exciting one. Additionally, you will find that a few of them are slightly more challenging than the average sit-up, so you will really build up that six-pack and strong core.

Here are the variations you can learn from this video.

1. Boat Sit ups

  • Put your feet flat on the ground and sit up straight with your legs bent. Raise your legs to a 45-degree angle from the floor, keeping them together. Balance on your tailbone, keeping your back flat and engaging your entire core.
    Extend your arms parallel to the ground, straight out in front of you.
  • Straighten your legs, and simultaneously lower your upper body. A few inches should separate your shoulder blades and legs from the ground. If that’s too hard, keep them higher off the ground and work your way down.

2. Regular Sit Ups

  • You should lie flat on your back.
  • Your legs should be bent, and your body should be stabilized.
  • You can place your hands behind your ears, or cross them over the opposite shoulders if you don’t want to pull on your neck.
  • Raise your head and shoulders off the ground. Breathe out.
  • Go back to where you started. As you lower, breathe in.

3. Reach and catch

  • Put your hands behind your head while lying on your back.
  • Reach your hands up into the air as you sit up.
  • Before repeating, pause a moment at the top.

4. Hands to Heels

  • Place yourself on a mat. Keep both legs hip-width apart, knees flexed, and feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and extend them over your head. Ensure that the lower part of your back is tilted towards the posterior.
  • Push up your upper body as you exhale. Swing your hands simultaneously from above your head to your heels.
  • Return to your starting position by inhaling and rolling back down.
  • Make sure your chin does not tuck in. Maintain a diagonal gaze upwards.

5. Straight Leg Sit Ups

  • Start in a sit-up position and straighten your legs.
  • Roll up toward your legs with your abs flexed and until you are seated.
  • When doing this exercise, make sure you go high enough so the top of your torso is upright.
  • As you perform this exercise, you can either fold your arms across your chest or hold them in front of you.

6. V-ups

These are effective types of sit ups for lower abs.

  • Your arms should be extended behind your head as you lie on your back. Make sure your feet are together and your toes are pointed forward.
  • Raise both your upper body and your legs straight off the floor as you keep them straight. Reach your hands for your toes as you keep your core tight.
  • Lower yourself slowly back to the starting position.

7. Elbow to Knee

  • Place your back flat on the ground.
  • About 45 degrees should be the angle of your knees.
  • Feet must be positioned under a fixed thing.
  • You should place your fingers behind your ears.
  • Move the torso up and twist at the waist until you hit the elbow opposite the knee.
  • Return to the starting position while slowly lowering the torso back down.

Note: The abdominal work can be made somewhat easier and gentler by using equipment like an exercise ball or resistance band. Plus, these tools are great for improving core strength.

Decline Bench sit-up variations

8. Decline Sit ups

Compared to the sit-up, the decline sit-up provides greater difficulty by allowing a more extensive range of motion. Compared to a sit-up on the floor, decline sit-ups provide trunk and hip flexion training at a significantly higher resistance level. Sets of 10-30 reps of unweighted decline sit-ups are recommended.

How to do it?

  • Sit up on a decline bench with your feet secured in the pads.
  • Put your fingers on your head or your chest.
  • Bring yourself up as far as you can by crunching your trunk.
  • Keep your abs tight and go back to the bottom.

It is possible to complete decline sit-ups with extra weight, for example, a dumbbell or plate held behind the head/neck, or rotating, as well as varying the angles of the sit-up board. Perform sets of 8-15 decline sit-ups with weights.

Shopping guide: Best ab benches for home gym.

9. Decline Russian Twist (side sit ups)

  • You should sit on the decline ab bench with your hands clasped in front of your chest and both feet firmly anchored under the foot pads. Your starting position should be a slight lean back with your abdominals engaged.
  • Turn your torso to the right as far as possible.
  • Turn your torso back to its original position.
  • As far left as possible, twist your torso.
  • Rotate your torso back to its original position.
  • Complete the exercise alternating between the right and left sides.

From the video above you can learn a wide range of difficult sit up variations with weight as well.

Weighted sit-up

If you do sit-ups constantly, you may find that they become too easy. Add weights to the abdominal exercise to increase the intensity. To maximize your safety, you should learn the proper form before you attempt this.

By adding weight to the sit-ups, you’re adding stimulation that you wouldn’t otherwise get from them. The result is stronger and larger abdominal muscles.

  • As you lie on your back, bend your knees and make sure your knees point upwards directly.
  • Lock your arms and lift a weighted plate straight up towards the ceiling.
  • The weight plate should be rotated over your head as you sit up.
  • Bring your back down to the ground, so your back touches it. The repetition is complete.

Learn more: Sit-ups with weights

TRX Sit-up

In TRX workouts, gravity and your body weight act as resistance to help you strengthen your postural muscles, balance, coordination, flexibility, core, and joints.

  • Be sure the handles on the TRX are lowered enough. Ensure that the feet are positioned correctly in the band.
  • As you are horizontal, your spine should be straight. Supine refers to lying face up with your stomach exposed, then lying horizontally, with your back on the floor or other surface and your head facing upwards. Maintain a stiff posture.
  • Perform a sit-up from this position, bringing your arms up. The arms and torso are in harmony throughout the movement, where the torso forms a nearly 90-degree angle at the end.
  • During the highest point of the motion, exhale and contract the core muscles firmly until you return to your starting position. Don’t use the momentum.
  • Repeat.

GHD sit-Up Variations with isometric holds

In isometric exercises, particular muscles are tensed without moving other joints. As isometric exercises strengthen and stabilize your muscles through constant tension, they help improve your muscle endurance and posture. Use a medicine ball, a dumbbell, or a weight plate as an additional weight. These are advanced sit ups that require an existing strong core.

Ab Mat Sit Ups

When doing various abdominal exercises, the ab mat provides a comfortable, safe and supportive posture. As you perform sit-ups and crunches, the abdominal mat supports your lower back. When lying down, the abdominal muscles are stretched optimally.


What can I do to make my sit-ups more challenging?

Your abdominal exercises can be changed by adjusting their speed, increasing the number of repetitions, and varying the movements. Other tools that may be helpful are hand weights and a timer.

Are these sit up modifications good for losing belly fat?

A six-pack is not a result of ab exercises. Despite the fact they help you to build up your abdomen muscles, you cannot intentionally target fat loss at the midsection. You need to lower your body fat with healthy nutrition and cardio workouts to burn calories.

What are the sit ups benefit?

It is a type of isolation exercise, which means you are training a certain part of the body separately, in this particular case the rectus abdominis. They help you to focus on your core and assist you in strengthening your muscles.

When you’re training for six-pack abs, you should do sit-ups. Together with the back muscles, strong abs stabilize and support the spine, in addition to their visual appeal. By improving your posture, you can prevent back pain and an overturned spine.
Besides improving your balance and muscle tone, a well-trained core can help in any sport.

Are planks better than sit-ups?

man doing plank woman sit ups

The rectus abdominis, also known as your abs, is the muscle you use for sit-ups and standard crunch. Whenever you have low enough body fat, your six-pack muscles show.

You should always include exercises that involve the rectus abdominis muscle in your abdominal muscle training program, as they will strengthen and build the abdominal muscles.

However, core strength requires more than just sit-ups and crunches. Additionally, you should strengthen your transverse abdominis and oblique muscles, which are responsible for stabilizing your torso and back. Planks can help with that. This exercise works your deep abs and low back, enhancing strength and stability.

In order to achieve the best combination of functionality, strength, and aesthetics, you should include both types of exercises.

How are crunches and sit-ups different?

Crunches are right up there with other ab exercises when it comes to working your abs. They both begin with a lying position and bent legs, but they have subtle differences that are worth noting.

As the name suggests, crunches only involve raising the upper back and shoulder blades off the floor and lightly rounding the abdominal wall.

As you sit up, your entire upper body is raised off the floor. There is a greater demand for the abdominal and back muscles in this variation. It is therefore recommended that beginners begin with crunches first.

Having more does not always mean that it’s better. Toning your abdominals requires a carefully crafted workout routine. Muscles must be trained regularly and recover between workouts in order to grow. The importance of regeneration cannot be overstated.

As a result, all-day abdominal training is not wise. Doing 3-4 x 15-20 sets three or four times a week is better than doing many sets every day. Besides ab exercises, you can also work your abs with squats, pushups, and lunges. Be sure to rest between sit-up sessions.

To conclude

Different types of sit-ups can benefit you in so many ways. From strengthening your core to building six-pack abs and harder abdominal workouts. However, I have to mention that most of the variations above are more suitable for experienced trainees.


Meet Walter, your dedicated fitness guide who has been passionate about sculpting physiques for over a quarter of a century. Specializing in boxing, weight training, and calisthenics, Walter has transformed his love for fitness into a lifestyle, crafting a home gym where goals are not just met, they're exceeded. His philosophy is grounded in the belief that anyone can achieve their dream body with the proper guidance and persistence. As a seasoned athlete and mentor, Walter embodies experience, expertise, authority, and trust, making your fitness journey not just a path to physical excellence but a life-changing expedition. Join Walter and turn your fitness aspirations into reality.