Before you were old enough to enter a gym, if you were after muscles, you had to stick to home exercises – think pushups, dips, body squats and of course, everyone’s favourite, situps.
But while there’s no doubting the gains, albeit small, that start to show, is a home workout the best way to chiselled abs?
Fortunately, one bodybuilder did the hard work for us, investigating the difference situps can make in a month. Recording his efforts on his Youtube channel, MattDoesFitness attempted 100 situps every day for a month to see if there were actual changes to his body.
Unfortunately for Matt, he wasn’t able to complete 100 consecutive reps. Instead, he started by doing as many as he can until exhaustion. He took a small break before repeating until he hit the magic number: 100. He makes the point of doing the exercise at the same time every day so he has 24 hours rest between workouts while also giving up his ab-related moves during his regular gym sessions.
The numbers don’t lie: his first attempt results in 44 situps before his first rest, knocking out 100 reps over three sets. Fast forward four weeks and he manages 68 situps without stopping, taking just two sets to reach 100 reps. Matt is also strict in his form, using furniture or family to hold his feet down on the floor.
Matt knew “it was never gonna be a crazy transformation” he was in bodybuilding shape beforehand. But he does notice a difference at the end of the month: he’s more shredded and his abs are more visible when his midsection is relaxed.
After completing the experiment, Matt returns to his usual ab workout, sticking to hanging leg raises and ab crunches. At this time he realises that situps aren’t an efficient exercise and in the long term, your gains will be hard to maintain.
“It’s not sustainable, it’s not consistent, it’s not realistic,” he says.
“Initially, for that first few weeks or month or however long you can sustain it for, you’re going to make progress… If you manage to ride that out and keep going, your body is going to adapt to that stimulus, to doing situps every day, and that’s going to become your baseline. So then if you’re injured, busy, or ill, and you miss you situps for a few days or a week, you are going to regress very quickly, you’re going to lose all your gains very quickly, and it’s gonna suck.”
His last piece of advice? Move into ab workouts that involve higher levels of stress.
“Once you get good at them, you need to start expanding into resistance exercises,” he adds.