Sit up vs Crunches: Which exercise is better?

Different exercises usually target different body parts. There are specific routines one can do to trim his waist, enhance his abs, help with his biceps and triceps, lose some pounds, and flatten his stomach.

When working out in a gym, people are typically asked what their fitness goals are to make sure they do the proper training to achieve them. However, there are times when they will be asked which specific routine they prefer to make sure their goals are met.

As an example, two of the most popular workouts in achieving a flat tummy and enhanced abs are sit ups and crunches. The question anyone asks before choosing which routine to use is ‘Which of them is proven to be more effective?’



  • Sit ups require more movement than crunches. Reading this one might bring you to the conclusion that it is then more effective since it requires more movements. A bigger movement requirement means more body parts are to be used, which could result to more calories burned. It is usually done to tone abs and trim the waistline, and could even be done by amateurs.
  • It is a usual routine. It could be one of the many advantages sit ups have over crunches. Remember PE classes during your grade school days? It is one of the easiest exercise routines to master, and does not take training to learn.
  • There are sit up machines in gyms. This could also be another advantage, as the machine can help you be on your proper form when doing the routines. Proper form and positioning during exercise is most often overlooked. People have the incorrect notion that it is the number of rounds or hours that will determine the end results of the workout. Fitness experts have advised again and again that to make sure we reach and achieve our fitness goals in time, we should be mindful of our proper form and positioning.
  • Sit ups use more muscle groups. While this could be good since it is designed to work more muscles than crunches, it could also be a sort of a disadvantage. People with back or neck problems might not be allowed to do sit ups; this means it could not work for everyone. Then again, we should also take note of the fact that every exercise should always be taken with caution, since overusing muscles could be hazardous to anyone’s health.
  • Sit ups have been proven to work more muscles as opposed to crunches. Muscles worked by proper sit ups include the lower back, neck, hip flexors, and the chest. When worked properly, these muscle cells have the ability to even burn calories when at rest. Sit ups have gained popularity because of how it enables your body to build strong core muscles, burn calories, and even help with posture.


  • There is a possibility of injuries. Because sit ups work more muscles, there is a slightly higher chances of getting an injury when doing sit ups as compared to crunches. It is very important to ask for a doctor’s advice before doing sit ups. It is also crucial to always be in the proper form and position when doing the routine. Warm ups and cool downs before and after sit up exercise is also very highly recommended to prep up muscles for the intensity of the workout exercise.



  • If you are serious in enhancing your ab muscles, this is the best workout. These past few years have somehow shifted people’s connotation of fitness. If before, fitness meant a trim waist; now, fitness looks like enhanced abdominal muscles. Six pack abs seem to be the standard of fitness today, most especially for the male population. If in sit ups more muscles are being worked, crunches put much work in the abdominal muscles. It has gained popularity because of how well it defines one’s abs in a shorter time when compared to other workout exercise routines.
  • Crunches are the most ideal workout for core muscles. People now do crunches to strengthen their core. It is very effective in strengthening lower back muscles and obliques. Crunches are also helpful in improving posture and balance.
  • It is not as intense as sit ups. We have mentioned above how sit ups require bigger movements as compared to crunches. While it could burn more calories, it could be too strenuous for the body and can injure you in the long run. Crunches only concentrate on the core muscles, and is less likely to cause injuries.


  • It only works for the core muscles. Being exclusively effective to the core could be good and bad at the same time. A strong core is surely good for the body and great for overall wellness and fitness, but is not as helpful as having strong lower back muscles.
  • Crunches only develop abs, but do not burn fats. Yes, it can give you the much coveted six pack abs, but that just stops that. Crunches do not burn calories and do not help with your upper back muscles. While it does help with blood circulation, it only helps with the core, not your entire body as a whole.
  • It is not good for amateurs. For people who have just begun to do workout exercise routines, crunches might not be the best one to start with, as it has been proven to cause significant back pain for newbies. This is why you should first do warm ups and do easier routines first before doing crunches.

In both workout exercises, proper form is highly encouraged, even required if you must. It is not the number of rounds that will determine how long before you can achieve your fitness goals. Doing it for an hour without being in the right position will do no good to your body’s fitness.

Both crunches and sit ups have their own sets of pits and perks, which could even vary from person to person, and fitness goals to fitness goals. Like many things, exercise routines are a case to case basis.

The best thing to do is to know what your fitness goal is, and then research or ask around about the proper workout routine to do to be able to achieve it. Ask your doctor as well, and get to know your body first before committing to a routine.