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Description: Situps with the weight in various places for stability.

Motions trained:Torso flexion

Main muscles used: Abdominals
   Other muscles: Triceps, biceps and pectorals

How to do it:

The motions for the lower body are the same as for bodyweight situps. The first position shown is the ready position. Always go to this position when you transition since it is the safe place to have the weight. The second picture shows putting the weight behind the head, which supports the neck.

The next set shows the position of the weight when up. Note that the arms are locked out. The second picture shows how to stick it to your hips for doing bridges. The difference here from doing these unweighted is that you keep hold of a weight which is behind your head when your feet are down or held at arms length if your feet are up. This is more than just make work. If you use a high weight behind the neck and pick up your feet, you will tilt over and not be able to do the exercise.

How to work up to it: do unweighted exercises.

Ramping it up: Use two dumbbells. These are kept on the chest or in the air. I went through a phase of doing situps on an incline bench, but found that a combination of these, swings and body lifts is more effective.

Do's and don'ts: Don't try to rise up too high, it is again the action of getting the hip and ribs together that effects the crunch. Besides, getting to high switches of which muscles are doing the work and the hip flexors kick in rather than the abdominals.

Comments: Good for core strength and endurance.