I'm personally not a huge fan of sit ups; I think there are so many other exercises that you can do for abs (like planks!) that don't put as much pressure on the spine and back. In fact, the U.S. military is even phasing them out because people keep getting injured. However, I ALWAYS see people doing sit-ups incorrectly at the gym, so I figure if we are all going to do them anyways, we might as well try and do them as correctly as possible so we don't get hurt! Here are my tips on good sit-up form!
PROTECT YOUR NECK
The biggest "bad form" thing I always see is people leading with their neck, pulling on it first and trying to produce momentum to get their back off the ground. Doing this not only will hurt and strain your neck and back, but it minimizes the benefit of the exercises because you are not using your abs. Pulling on the head or neck as in the bad form picture or lacing your fingers behind the head can make it worse. Rather than doing that, you can put your arms next to your head lightly touching but not pulling. Or if you can't resist the urge to pull your head forward with your arms, cross the arms in front of the chest.
DON'T TUCK YOUR CHIN TO CHEST
Another thing to watch out for is placing your chin on your chest. Doing this will cause you to want to lift with your neck first. I have found that keeping my neck lengthened and eyes gazed at the ceiling will help to stop premature curling forward of the neck.
PULL YOUR ABS TIGHT
It's possible to do sit ups with your abs not fully engaged, but by doing this you're not getting the full benefit and suffering through these exercises for nothing. You should do your best to pull your belly button in toward the spine as you sit up!
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Always listen to your body. If your neck or back is feeling strained, rest, and switch to another exercise like the plank, leg lifts, or reverse crunch. There are many ways to get those six pack abs without hurting your neck and back!
Lmk what you guys think about sit ups in the comments below!