While there are countless benefits to going into the box for a CrossFit class, sometimes it’s just not possible to get there. You may have a sick child at home, your car could be in the shop, or you might need to stay home for an appliance service call. Whatever the reason is, we don’t have to let our inability to get to the gym prevent us from WODing (workout of the day).
There are many movements that don’t require equipment, such as push ups, air squats and lunges. You may be inclined to lump sit-ups in this category as well. While you can physically perform a sit-up without any equipment, it’s actually best to use an AbMat.
Why you might ask? Well, to be completely honest, I didn’t know the answer to that question until I did a little research. From personal experience, I knew that using an AbMat felt better and prevented the typical neck and low back pain I previously experienced when doing sit-ups without one. But I didn’t understand why, and how could I possibly encourage you to consider investing in an AbMat if I can’t offer you concrete reasons why it’s better?
I’m going to date myself, but in the old days, seeking this knowledge would have required a trip to the library! Now, all it took was a 5 minute google search. For those that are total knowledge seekers, you can get the full scoop by reading the science behind the AbMat.
Here’s what I discovered in an abbreviated version. For a sit up to be fully effective, the movement must bend the spine in its full range of motion while also contracting the abdominal muscles from full extension to full flexion. By placing the AbMat under the lumbar curve, with the thicker end closest to your toosh, you are allowing your abdominal muscles to effectively move through their full range of motion.
In addition, butterflying your legs (sole of the feet together, knees bent outward) prevents your hip flexors from completing the movement instead of your abdominal muscles.
Here’s a quick video demonstrating proper AbMat sit-up form.
As an alternative, I’ve tried rolling up a small towel in place of an AbMat. But honestly, there’s nothing that does the trick as well as a real AbMat. So YES – if you are committed to developing a strong core, it’s well worth the $30 investment!
PS – this was NOT a paid advertisement!!! I just strongly believe in the benefits of an AbMat and wanted to share it with you!
Join our Community & Get The Cavemamas Favorite Things we think you should know about!
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.