For the longest time, I believed that sit ups were the shortcut to the visible abs that I was always missing.
I had come really close to getting prominent abs in the past and failed.
I had dropped down to 15% body fat, thinking that this time, I would get abs. Nada!
I tried a ton of cardio hoping that it would magically burn off the fat and bring out those abs. No such luck!
Then, I bumped into this 30-day challenge on the internet called the '200 Sit ups a day' challenge. The influencer who created the challenge claimed that it was finally this that had bought out his abs in full glory.
I was desperate to try anything under the sun to get my abs popping. 200 sit ups didn't sound too difficult. So, I hopped on. These are my results.
Why I Decided to Do 200 Sit Ups a Day for 30 Days
It was for them damn abdominals. Trust me when I tell you this, I have the worst fat distribution genetics in the world. Every bit of fat that I carry is centered on my torso.
Even when I drop down my body fat to sub-13%, I don't even see my lower abs. Let alone the complete 6-pack.
I wanted them abs. Like really badly!
So, when I bumped into this challenge on the internet, 200 or 300 sit ups a day seemed like a walk in the park for me. (I have tried the one punch man workout - 100 sit ups, 100 pushups and 100 squats a day challenge for 30 days as well.)
Plus, at just 30 days, it sounded perfect to me.
My Results and What I Learned
I was expecting the 200 sit ups to peel off that layer of stubborn fat on my belly and make my abs prominent, so that they would be more visible.
Well, I got pretty close, I can tell you that.
Here's a look at my results and what I learned.
My Core Is Stronger than Ever
The biggest takeaway is this. My core has turned into a rock. I am not just talking about muscle development either. There's an overall improvement in my core strength, stamina, endurance, and stability, which I can notice during other lifts as well as functional movements.
That means, my muscles and the connective tissues are more developed.
Squatting has gotten better. So have my bent over barbell and t bar rows. I no longer unintentionally slouch during the row.
Burned a Lot of Calories
200 sit ups a day is a calorie scorcher. Well, nobody told me this before and I actually did them back to back, after finishing my 5-mile run. Ended up in a massive pool of sweat.
I know calorie trackers are not accurate. But my Garmin shows that I torched 600 calories in total. That's insane. My run usually accounts for about 350 calories. So, the sit ups accounted for another 250.
Abs Look Better
What this did is made my abs more visible. I believe that it's a combination of the muscle hypertrophy and the fat loss. I also feel that the increased muscle definition on my oblique has made them look more prominent.
My lower abs are now visible! That's a first for me.
My Lower Back Pain Has Diminished
For the longest time, I had a lot of lower back pain. It turned out that it was due to weak hip flexor muscles and prolonged sitting because of my job.
After about 10 days of the 200 Sit Ups a day challenge, I felt the pain had reduced. Initially, I thought that this was a placebo effect or something. But it actually had reduced.
After 28-days, it was as good as non-existent. My coach attributes this to the increased core strength predominantly.
Benefits of Sit ups
Sit Ups are terribly underrated and unfairly maligned for causing problems with your spinal health. For a while, I bought this too.
But after my experience with them for 30-days, here's what I think about them now.
No Equipment Exercise
Bodyweight exercises like the sit up are a good way to build your strength and burn calories without having to invest in equipment. You can do them anywhere, at all times during the day. Just like sit ups, other bodyweight exercises that you can include pushups for your chest, pull ups for your back, biceps and triceps, and crunches to get visible abs.
During the recent pandemic, I came across a lot of posts on messaging boards that claimed that people were unable to work out because they did not have access to a gym.
Well, with sit ups, you have one less excuse.
The core is the most important muscle group in your body from a functional and athletic perspective. If you have weak core muscles, you are racing towards an injury or even disability caused due to a prolapsed/herniated disc or something.
Sit ups target almost all the muscles in your core. Also, performing a high number of sit ups, like say 100-200 a day, is an easy way to strengthen your core, while burning fat and improving hypertrophy.
Here are the major muscles that it targets.
Tensor fascia latae
That's a huge list folks.
Easy to Perform & Beginner Friendly
If you are looking for an exercise with a low barrier to entry, you've just found it. The Sit up is one of the most beginner friendly exercises around.
And it's ridiculously simple. You can do it on your bed, on the floor or even outside in a park if you are traveling. There are many different varieties of sit ups too, which makes them accessible to all levels of trainees.
You don't need any home gym equipment at all for doing them.
Great for Spine Flexibility
An often overlooked and grossly underrated benefit of the sit up is that it is good for the spine.
The ability to flex and extend your spine is crucial for improving spinal flexibility and range of motion. The sit up helps immensely, while also building strength in the muscles that keep your spine aligned correctly.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing 200 Sit Ups?
That depends on a variety of parameters including your intensity, your body weight and the duration of time that you maintain that intensity for.
Here's a calculator that I used to crunch some numbers.
I weight 180 lbs. and at max intensity, I am able to burn around 225 calories in 20 minutes with sit ups.
So my Garmin was not too off the mark.
What Is a Good Amount of Sit Ups to Do per Day?
With good form and no injuries or limitations to the range of motion in your spine, you should aim to touch 100 a day.
If it is too difficult for you or if you have any limitations in that area, then you can start with 50 and then slowly increase the number every week or every other week depending on the situation.
You will see progress soon enough.
Do Sit Ups Help Lose Belly Fat?
By themselves, sit ups will not cause visceral fat loss. For that you need proper nutrition and an effective workout plan to lose belly fat.
Sit ups help reduce abdominal fat by burning calories and strengthening your core muscles. When performing a high number of sit ups in a day, like 200-300, it is pretty safe to say that you will burn off at least a quarter of a pound or more in pure fat.
Closing Thoughts: Do I Recommend Doing 200 Sit Ups a Day?
First, you need to ask yourself how many sit ups a day do I need to start with. 200 Sit ups might read like a lot. But they are not that difficult to do. You can spread them out over the day and even take a 10-minute break in between.
I've done them for over a month. Oh yeah, the abs were looking so good that I decided to continue even after the challenge was technically over. I didn't have a 10 pack set of abs, of course, but I did see noticeable results.
That said, I have some prior experience with both, challenges and sit ups. If you are completely new to this, then you might find that 200 sit ups are a little challenging. In that case, you can start with a much lower number.
About 50 sounds like a good starting point. Once you are able to do the 50 without any problems, you can slowly increase it until you touch 200.
Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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